Daily Pulse: It Could Happen to You

This article is reprinted in partnership with The Media Consortium, of which RH Reality Check is a member.

Opponents of health care reform are trying to pit the insured against everyone else. Conservative Republicans like Rep. Mike Pence
warn that if we get a public option, millions of Americans will lose
their private coverage because so many employers will stop offering
private insurance. What Pence doesn’t say is that right now, employers
can stop providing insurance at any time and their workers will have
nothing to fall back on. As costs rise, fewer and fewer employers are
providing any health insurance at all.

Most insured people have no idea how fragile their coverage is under the status quo.

The Uptake carries President Obama’s address on the uninsured,
in which he hammered home the message that anyone under 65 can lose
their coverage at any time. Luckily for those over 65, they have a
popular public option, Medicare.

There are lots of ways to become uninsured, including job loss,
employers cutting off benefits, or insurers kicking customers off the
rolls. As Obama said:

Over the last twelve months, nearly six million more
Americans lost their health coverage – that’s 17,000 men and women
every single day. We’re not just talking about Americans in poverty,
either – we’re talking about middle-class Americans. In other words, it
can happen to anyone. And based on a brand-new report from the Treasury
Department, we can expect that about half of all Americans under 65
will lose their health coverage at some point over the next ten years.

It’s common knowledge that insurance companies drop customers with
preexisting conditions and cut paying customers off when they get sick.
It might surprise you to learn that domestic violence counts as a
preexisting condition in many states.

Amie Newman of RH Reality Check reports that the insurance industry
figured out what feminists have been saying for decades: Once a man
becomes a batterer, chances are he’ll continue to abuse his wife with
increasing brutality. If you’re a human being, that’s an outrage and a
tragedy. If you’re a conscience-free health insurance provider, it’s a
big red flag to drop victims because their wounds will cost you money.
This is the logic of for-profit health insurance in a microcosm:
Identify the most vulnerable and purge them because they hurt your
bottom line.

Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee is set to unveil its long-awaited bill today. The committee will vote on the bill next week. We’ll examine the bill in tomorrow’s Pulse.

After a seemingly endless quest for a bipartisan bill, Finance
Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) is signaling that he’s prepared to move
ahead without GOP support. Good thing, too. Sen. Chuck Grassley
(R-Iowa) swears he’s serious about bipartisanship,
according to the Iowa Independent, but he spent the summer telling tall
tales of death panels and fundraising as an opponent of “Obamacare.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one potential Republican swing vote, now
says she rejects the very idea of public/private competition, according to Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly.

Finally, you can use the Washington Independent’s new Public Option Scoreboard to keep track of every senator’s position, based on their public statements.

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  • kentt

    I’d rather have the government act as my representative to the insurance industry and tell them, this is broken; “you must fix it”. The US government is not a company, it’s sickening to see the Kings and Queens of Congress pandering to the Insurance Industry. My Senators and Congressperson should be argueing with the insurance companies on my behalf, not getting my government into the insurance business. They took the Social Security money and spent it like was their cash cow. Congress seems to think they are part of the market place and free enterprise, they are GOVERNMENT….(OUR REPRESENTATIVES!!! not businessmen)I don’t trust them because they are setting themselves up into business …. again.

    I’m not against healthcare for everyone, I’m against the government getting involved in it. I want the insurance companies to hear a collective out burst of “fix it” not a collective outburst of “we’re going to be your FRIENDLY competition”.

    If the govenment can tell us that we must get health insurance or we will have our income tax tapped then they can sure as hell tell the insurance companies “fix it” or we’ll tax your ass out of business. WHY IS IT OK FOR US TO GET HIT WITH HIGHER TAXES, MANDATES, THREATS AND PENALITIES BUT THE INSURANCE COMPANIES GET OFF THE HOOK? MAKE DEMANDS OF THE INSURANCE COMPANIES AND THERE WILL BE THOSE WHO WILL SNAP TO AND GET THE JOB DONE FOR ALL AMERICANS.
    Get it? Got it? Good!

    Feel free to copy and past, add too but please try not to delete the key points.

  • cmarie

    It will happen to all of us soon enough if this bill passes per HR 3200, Section 102:

    Private, non-government carriers will not be able to write new applications after Obamacare goes into effect (Sec a, 1 A).

    Private carriers will be unable to alter the policies after Obamacare goes into effect (Sec a, 2).

    Private carriers will be unable to change the premium after Obamacare goes into effect (Sec a, 3).

    Private group plans will only be authorized for five years after the passage of Obamacare (Sec b, 1, A).

    After the passage of Obamacare, only private “Exchange-participating” (ie government authorized) plans will be allowed (Sec c, 1, a).

    Therefore the president is right. You will be “allowed to keep your present plan” until the new rules kick in , at which point they can’t change their prices, policies or take on any new members. Unable to compete in the marketplace; they will go out of business and you, me and everyone else will be left with just the one option, Obamacare.