One Thing I Got Wrong About Obamacare

For several years I have feared that my high-deductible health insurance would be illegal.  I am a big believer in high deductible insurance.  First, it is real insurance, requiring that I pay day-to-day expenses but protecting me from catastrophic bill.  Second, it improves the health care system by providing incentives for consumers to actually price-shop services.

Well, I was wrong.  In fact, most people see to be getting higher deductibles than they want.

My only excuse is that the Obama Administration has acted for three years as if they hated high-deductible health coverage and were planning to make it go away.  Kathleen Sebelius has said on a number of occasions that it is not "real insurance" (she believes that insurance should actually be pre-paid medical care).  Seriously, here is an example of what she was saying:

At a White House briefing Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said some of what passes for health insurance today is so skimpy it can't be compared to the comprehensive coverage available under the law. "Some of these folks have very high catastrophic plans that don't pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus," she said. "They're really mortgage protection, not health insurance."

She is saying this all while the policies being prepared for the exchange were exactly the kind of coverage she was speaking out against.  And she had to know -- I cannot believe a former state insurance commissioner was not looking at what policies were being prepared for the exchange.  After all, her organization made the last minute decision to hide policy pricing from the public (e.g. deleted the window shopping functionality) and this almost certainly was in response to seeing the policies being prepared for the exchange and realizing the pricing and features were not going to make people happy.

By the way, there is a certain schizophrenia here that is entirely political:  These new policies have a $10,000 deductible, but they pay 100% for condoms?    They may well be creating a combination of catastrophic insurance and pre-paid medical care that has the worst of both approaches.

Politicians lie.  But what is it about this administration that lies in ways that are inevitably going to be discovered, in just a few months?  Can they really be so focused on getting through each individual news cycle that this kind of behavior makes sense?


  1. Daublin:

    It will only backfire if watchdog groups do a good enough job of calling this stuff out.

    The one about "if you like your plan, you can keep it" was known all along to be eggregiously bad, but it didn't seem to get much counter-argument until the last month or two.

    This issue of "gold-plated" plans might also deserve some repeated emphasis. On a related note, what is wrong with "mortgage protection"? Isn't "medical bankruptcy" supposed to be the reason for everyone to have giant medical plans?

    A similar issue that has been dropped too quickly, I think, is that of death panels. Death panels were considered so inaccurate as to be a lie, for a long time, and Palin got unfairly skewered for repeating the phrase. Nowadays, even Krugman is admitting that they are just the normal way you would implement socialized medicine.

  2. FelineCannonball:

    I thought the fake insurance was the stuff with high deductibles and low annual/lifetime caps.

    In the bigger picture you should want coverage/encouragement for some simple preventative care in addition to catastrophic care because it's cheaper to treat incipient type two diabetes than a foot with gangrene. It really doesn't matter whether you're talking about employer based private insurance or communist collectives, the overall cost on everyone goes up if certain types of healthcare are deferred. Yes, the behavior of idiots doesn't just effect the idiot themselves.

    Where does this condom thing come from? And death panels, again?

  3. Dave Boz:

    I've talked with a few supporters of Obama and Obamacare. The arguments are 1) These aren't really lies 2) They're sort-of-lies but they are for the good of the country, since Obamacare will eventually work out well 3)Republicans are evil.
    The last point may or may not be true, but has nothing to do with lies or the inherent problems of Obamacare. None of the things I consider problems, including the lies from the president, are of any concern whatsoever to Obama supporters.

  4. mesaeconoguy:

    Points 1 & 2 make Dumbasscrats evil.

  5. beautox:

    Wow the prices of US health insurance makes my eyes water. I was seeing examples like

    In El Paso, Tex., for example, for a husband and wife both age 35, one of the cheapest plans on the federal exchange, offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has a premium less than $300 a month, but the annual deductible is more than $12,000. For a 45-year-old couple seeking insurance on the federal exchange in Saginaw, Mich., a policy with a premium of $515 a month has a deductible of $10,000.

    Here in New Zealand, my wife and I pay less than $250 per month. We're both in our 50s. No deductable. Sure, it doesn't cover dentists and routine things. But still pretty good.

  6. mesaeconoguy:

    Yes, death panels again. They exist, have always existed, and will always exist in any collectivized capped industry, which medicine now is.

    Are you really so inattentive and/or ignorant as to not know that birth control is covered under these idiotic plans? Were you asleep for the whole Sandra Fluke fiasco?

  7. MingoV:

    ObamaCare-qualified low-deductible policies were going to cost far more than pre-ObamaCare policies, especially for healthy young adults. The administration HAD to allow high-deductible policies so insurers could offer policies that were only 30-70% higher than previous low-deductible policies.

    The government spies on everything. I hope they spied on voters. That way we could get the data and force every fool who voted for Obama and the democratic legislators to pay all the national debt incurred since FY 2010 and reimburse the rest of us for all the economic harm caused by this administration.

  8. FelineCannonball:

    "Death panels" have existed since the first cavemen started conducting healthcare. Scratch that, I'd argue chimps have death panels too. Private insurance has never meant unlimited measures to extend life regardless of cost.

    And I see no evidence of OTC birth control covered / subsidized under ACA. How exactly would that work?

  9. mesaeconoguy:


    What we have now is collectively imposed [unaccountable bureaucrat] death panels, which have removed individual choice and capacity to access care. That is entirely new.

    Birth control is not only covered, maternal care is mandated under the exchange plans.

    Are you new to earth? A recent arrival, perhaps?

  10. FelineCannonball:

    Before your "unaccountable bureaucrat death panels" insured procedures were largely dictated by CMS bureaucrats. Private insurance basically followed their guidance with a little foot dragging on expensive procedures (corporate pencil pusher death panels?).

    OTC means "over the counter," find me some free condoms and I'll fill with them helium and immigrate to France.

  11. mesaeconoguy:

    Again, incorrect.

    Private insurers were free to set their own limits. Now they are not. Government mandates coverage, which results in cancelled plans for those not compliant with guidelines.

    This is what we humans call a “big difference.” It’s interesting that you lack perception to see this.

    Under Obamascare, employers are now required to provide plans which cover birth control, which is unconstitutional

    Bon voyage, vache.

  12. FelineCannonball:

    If the freedom of insurance companies is your priority, I concede the point. If you're looking at the experience of the average person on private insurance . . .

    You've yet to link to any free condoms. I'm not likely to get any helium in a birth control pill or find a doctor who will overlook my penis and prescribe them.

  13. mesaeconoguy:

    I see you are a typically dense central planner.

    The previous insurance configuration was far, far preferable to the failed current version, which will get much worse.

    I showed you the requirement to cover birth control, which includes condoms. You are too stupid to acknowledge it.

    Please, off to France with you, cow.

  14. FelineCannonball:

    The reason you can't find it, is they aren't covered. Prescription birth control for women is covered. Prescribed OTC birth control for women might be depending on the insurer. Condoms are not. In fact vasectomies are not. ACA is specifically spelled out to provide birth control coverage for women only. And unprescribed OTC products are never covered by insurance.

  15. mesaeconoguy:


    Condoms and all birth control are covered.

    It would be discriminatory to not cover all types.

  16. FelineCannonball:

    Jeez, look it up already. It can't damage your world view that much.

  17. mesaeconoguy:

    I recommend you look it up.

    All birth control is covered, not just women’s.

  18. mesaeconoguy:

    That source is incorrect.

    It is covered. Here’s why:

    1. Threat of lawsuit (unequal treatment), plus

    2. Free shit giveaway opportunity

    I will bet you $10,000 that within 6 months, if the SC doesn’t strike down the current mandate, all forms of birth control will be explicitly folded into the mandate.

    Obamugabe never misses an opportunity to give away free shit at other people’s expense.

  19. jj:

    You're really stretching the English language when you say "it is covered." It's clearly not, yet.

  20. mesaeconoguy:

    It is covered implicitly, and will be explicitly very, very shortly if the mandate is allowed to stand.

    You are clearly an ignorant person.

  21. mesaeconoguy:

    If you believe anything Kathy Sibelius says, you forfeit any credibility. She, along with her boss, is a documented liar.

    If the opportunity exists to give something away, Il Duce will do it, and probably retroactively.

    [Smells like a lawsuit if they don’t do this, so don’t be surprised when they come out next week or month with a “clarification.”]

  22. jj:

    FelineCannonball, it seems like I wouldn't agree with your positions on ACA, but I applaud your patience and civility towards mesaeconoguy. I don't think I can handle him. Congratulations, mesaeconoguy, I surrender to your superior logic and impeccable manners.

  23. mesaeconoguy:

    I’m not here to make friends – I’m here to instruct you, and anyone else that your beliefs are wrong, and that you are incorrect, and stupid for believing anything that is written about the law, or uttered by any administration official.

    I don’t give 2 shits what Kathy Sibelius said - this law is so badly written, it is virtually meaningless, and is being altered weekly.

    The dickhead in charge is your enemy, not me. When you realize this, you may begin to see things more clearly.

    All contraceptives are covered. You are delusional if you believe otherwise.

  24. John Moore:

    I made the same mistake. All the rhetoric implied that these plans would be like typical employer provided plans - essentially pre-paid health care.

    The dishonesty of this administration is stunning. Even more amazing is the failure to recognize and decry this in the main stream media.

    We now live in an era where "truth" is whatever the Democrats want it to be.

  25. MNHawk:

    I don't think rubbers are covered. The assumption Democrat men have for Democrat women, is that unlike men, they're incapable of buying simple birth control, and need a sugar daddy in government to help them do such. That's why we have first dollar coverage for various women things, but $10,000+ in deductibles/co-pays for everything else.

    Democrat women really are helpless without their sugar daddies in government.

  26. treeher:

    You're a bit aggressive, but I appreciate the attempt to accurately describe these miserable Marxist sycophants in DC. Once they got control of the three branches, they couldn't wait to push through their socialist agenda. I'm no fan of the RINOs in Congress, but even they couldn't hold their collective noses and vote for this obamanation of a bill. People like FelineCannonball are the ones who attribute their feelings and emotions to legislation that they don't even read or understand.

  27. Matthew Slyfield:

    " They may well be creating a combination of catastrophic insurance and
    pre-paid medical care that has the worst of both approaches."

    Who would have thought that the government would do something like that?

    Just anyone with a working brain who has paid any attention to what the government has been doing for the last 50 years or so.

  28. CapitalistRoader:

    So far it seems as if I'm keeping my high deductible insurance under Obamacare. On the Colorado website there are two plans listed with HSA in the plan name, one silver and one bronze. Neither are cheap if unsubsidized: I am currently paying $290/month for an HDHP while the bronze HSA plan runs $407/month, the silver $450/month.

    Helping out a California coworker navigate that state's website, I found only a bronze HSA plan offered, so availability of high deductible plans that meet the guidelines for funding a healthcare savings account must vary from state to state.

  29. mesaeconoguy:

    You get my point, mostly.

    I guarantee they are covered.

    The law means whatever they want it to mean. It is meaningless, because of this fact. As stated before, if an opportunity exists to give something away (there are many ways of doing this, even with OTC
    medication), Oblunder will do it. It is how he and his Marxist administration operates.

    Normally, you would have a point arguing “Look, this source and HHS say they’re not covered,” but in this case, everyone knows that such a reliance upon demonstrative statements from this administration is not only impossible, it is unwise, because there is an extremely well-established history outright lies and changing statements by these incredibly dangerous leftist extremists running the show.

    Their words, written or spoken, mean nothing, and the goal and spirit of this law is to give away free shit. They, and their printed pronunciations, cannot be relied upon for verification of anything.

    Right now, there are at least 17 gay rights groups talking with the DNC/Obungle admin. about not protecting gay male health (condoms). Oblunder owes them big time, after his perceived missteps during his first term.

  30. sch:

    High deductibles are a feature, desirable from the HHS POV to facilitate the reduction in
    medical costs promised by #44 as a byproduct of the ACA. By instituting in a somewhat
    covert way (you find out what is in it after you pass it) high deductibles you give users
    some skin in the game. MRI cost $2500?, might want to defer that if it comes out of my
    deductible. Extra prema chemo is $1000/day 3 days a week for 3 weeks versus '70s
    era chemo for $20/day? maybe will prompt the user to go with the cheaper drug. Ditto
    for any genetically generated pharmaceutical. Having chest pain? Why spend $30k +
    for a cath/stent and $300/month for platelet inhibitors when nitro paste, aspirin and
    a $0.10/ tablet beta blocker will do just as well as long as you don't get energetic.

  31. treeher:

    Their goal is not to give stuff away. Their goal is to create dependence so that they can exert control over the "ignorant masses." Pure unadulterated Marxism.

  32. skhpcola:

    All of that and the fact that WebMD is getting paid by Ozero to propagandize for his thoroughly failed health insurance scheme. But FelineCrapball is too emotionally invested in his/her leftist ideology to acknowledge facts...just like millions of other Obamunists.

    WebMD is a source of propaganda:

  33. mesaeconoguy:

    Their goal with this law is to create that dependence by giving stuff away, and create the comfort level required for the general population to rely upon government for basic things like birth control.

    It is a massive change from public sensibility even a decade ago.