Friday, July 24, 2009

If Michele Bachmann is Busy, Be Sure to Consult Package of Mixed Salted Nuts

Last night I talked to a guy who claimed the health care bill would force you to get government insurance if you switched jobs, "and it says so right on page 16."

Where had I heard that? Oh yeah! Noted loon and Repub Congresswoman for Minnesota Michele Bachmann, that's where! Except she claimed you'd be forced off your private plan after 5 years. Ah, tomato-tomahto.

I'm still reeling a little bit. Crazy Michele Bachmann produced a meme? That someone real actually believed? Someone who considers himself a newshound? Astounding.

Actually, his argument is more like this Investor's Business Daily editorial from last week--after Bachmann's comment--which builds a full page of text upon one funny-obvious misreading.
"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 the year the legislation becomes law.

So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.

What does page 16 actually say? It says that after 5 years, employer-provided health insurance plans must meet the same standards as plans that will be sold through the new exchange. So, in a way, you won't have exactly the same plan. But I guess arguing about what standards our insurance should meet is a bit boring compared to FREAKINGOUTTHEDEMSGONNACONTROLMYLIFE.
(b) Grace Period for Current Employment-based Health Plans-


(A) IN GENERAL- The Commissioner shall establish a grace period whereby, for plan years beginning after the end of the 5-year period beginning with Y1, an employment-based health plan in operation as of the day before the first day of Y1 must meet the same requirements as apply to a qualified health benefits plan under section 101, including the essential benefit package requirement under section 121.

UPDATE: Dang Thomas link isn't working. To find the bill and the electronic text of page 16, search here (by bill number) for H.R.3200 and click on "Sec. 102 Protecting the choice to keep current coverage."

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