Let's Go With That Analogy

President Obama recently drew an analogy between the proposed, government funded, health care option and the United States Postal Service.  He reasoned: a government funded postal service hasn't put private parcel carriers out of business; therefore a government funded insurer will not put private insurers out of business.  His logic is sound and his facts are truthful, but only in a very technical sense.

H.R. 3200 follows this pattern: it appears to be one thing on the surface, but in practical application it is the opposite.  It's titled "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" and the operative section for this article, section 102, is titled "PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE."  (Well golly, affordability, choices, protection, and keeping current coverage.  We should be good to go then.)  But if one were to do what to John Conyers is pointless, and actually read the bill, one would find that section 102 reads:

(a) Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage Defined- Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term `grandfathered health insurance coverage' means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:

(1) LIMITATION ON NEW ENROLLMENT-

(A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.

(B) DEPENDENT COVERAGE PERMITTED- Subparagraph (A) shall not affect the subsequent enrollment of a dependent of an individual who is covered as of such first day.

(2) LIMITATION ON CHANGES IN TERMS OR CONDITIONS- Subject to paragraph

(3) and except as required by law, the issuer does not change any of its terms or conditions, including benefits and cost-sharing, from those in effect as of the day before the first day of Y1.

(3) RESTRICTIONS ON PREMIUM INCREASES- The issuer cannot vary the percentage increase in the premium for a risk group of enrollees in specific grandfathered health insurance coverage without changing the premium for all enrollees in the same risk group at the same rate, as specified by the Commissioner.

So in plain English:  The proposed bill would not directly put your insurer out of business and in fact it would in many ways restrict your insurer from changing coverage.  However, the bill would ensure that your insurer will be out of business in no time.  To see why, let's follow our Dear Leader's lead and analogize to the parcel delivery industry. 

Imagine if Congress passed a law titled "PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO USE CURRENT SHIPPER."  Imagine also that this law required UPS and FedEx to continue to serve their current customers but forbad them from taking on new customers.  Imagine also that the law made changing prices dependant upon government approval.  Finally, imagine that while stripping UPS and FedEx of their ability to change and adapt to the changing market, this law would also make other changes to the parcel industry which, even the proponents of the law admit, would be sweeping and historic.  UPS and FedEx would be out of business in 12 months.

Of course, the proponents of the "PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO USE CURRENT SHIPPER" law would then bray:  "We didn't take away your right to use UPS and FedEx.  In fact, we did all we could to protect you.  The greedy corporate fat cats simply shut down because they couldn't make exorbitant profits anymore.  Blame them!  Good thing for you we have the Postal Service, since all the other shippers are out of business.  Of course, now that we have no competition, stamps are $20.00 a piece and we guarantee that your parcel will be delivered...  somewhere... eventually."
President Obama recently drew an analogy between the proposed, government funded, health care option and the United States Postal Service.  He reasoned: a government funded postal service hasn't put private parcel carriers out of business; therefore a government funded insurer will not put private insurers out of business.  His logic is sound and his facts are truthful, but only in a very technical sense.

H.R. 3200 follows this pattern: it appears to be one thing on the surface, but in practical application it is the opposite.  It's titled "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" and the operative section for this article, section 102, is titled "PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE."  (Well golly, affordability, choices, protection, and keeping current coverage.  We should be good to go then.)  But if one were to do what to John Conyers is pointless, and actually read the bill, one would find that section 102 reads:

(a) Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage Defined- Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term `grandfathered health insurance coverage' means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:

(1) LIMITATION ON NEW ENROLLMENT-

(A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.

(B) DEPENDENT COVERAGE PERMITTED- Subparagraph (A) shall not affect the subsequent enrollment of a dependent of an individual who is covered as of such first day.

(2) LIMITATION ON CHANGES IN TERMS OR CONDITIONS- Subject to paragraph

(3) and except as required by law, the issuer does not change any of its terms or conditions, including benefits and cost-sharing, from those in effect as of the day before the first day of Y1.

(3) RESTRICTIONS ON PREMIUM INCREASES- The issuer cannot vary the percentage increase in the premium for a risk group of enrollees in specific grandfathered health insurance coverage without changing the premium for all enrollees in the same risk group at the same rate, as specified by the Commissioner.

So in plain English:  The proposed bill would not directly put your insurer out of business and in fact it would in many ways restrict your insurer from changing coverage.  However, the bill would ensure that your insurer will be out of business in no time.  To see why, let's follow our Dear Leader's lead and analogize to the parcel delivery industry. 

Imagine if Congress passed a law titled "PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO USE CURRENT SHIPPER."  Imagine also that this law required UPS and FedEx to continue to serve their current customers but forbad them from taking on new customers.  Imagine also that the law made changing prices dependant upon government approval.  Finally, imagine that while stripping UPS and FedEx of their ability to change and adapt to the changing market, this law would also make other changes to the parcel industry which, even the proponents of the law admit, would be sweeping and historic.  UPS and FedEx would be out of business in 12 months.

Of course, the proponents of the "PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO USE CURRENT SHIPPER" law would then bray:  "We didn't take away your right to use UPS and FedEx.  In fact, we did all we could to protect you.  The greedy corporate fat cats simply shut down because they couldn't make exorbitant profits anymore.  Blame them!  Good thing for you we have the Postal Service, since all the other shippers are out of business.  Of course, now that we have no competition, stamps are $20.00 a piece and we guarantee that your parcel will be delivered...  somewhere... eventually."