I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage – they like their plan and they value their relationship with their doctor. And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what. My view is that health care reform should be guided by a simple principle: fix what's broken and build on what works. Obama, June 2009
So, all these insurance cancellation notices are going out to people who already have insurance because their existing insurance doesn't meet ACA standards. This is such a symbolic gift to the Republicans, even if it is a statistically insignificant problem. It also shows the top-down technocratic mindset of policy types who have close to zero political acumen.
I know; it will blow over, but still--this was an unforced error.
Here's the thing: If, as ACA apologists are arguing, there is such a small number of cancelled insureds whose rates will be going up, why was it necessary to insist that they give up their existing health care, even if it is inferior to what they can find on the exchanges? Why not let them keep what they have and let them shop for something better on their own? Why force them to give up what they have if they are happy with it? What's the down side of that compared to the down side of freaking people out by forcing them off their current insurance and onto exchanges that they cannot access?
This is a problem because some policy technocrats think they know better what people need than the people do, and this is exactly what infuriates people about big-government programs. This policy is the product of the same patronizing mentality that banned super-sized soft drinks in New York. Whatever public good might come of it, it feeds a big-brother/big mother stereotype that negates the benefits because it helps to delegitimize government in the mind of ordinary folks who rightly resent government making their choices for them.
UPDATE: Maybe I'm wrong. There's this (in comments):
Neither Obama or Sebelius lied, folks. The insurance companies did! They are the ones who cancelled the policies, not the Administration. They are the ones who between March 2010 and now altered their policies for high risk clients, so they could cancel them, under the terms of the ACA which they helped to draft. Do not think for one minute that the ACA was ever anything other than a gift to the insurance industry - one that they drew up the specifics of and made sure were included. Most of the policies that the insurance industry are canceling, because they changed them in the grace period by raising rates or co-pays or changing coverage, are being canceled to force the holders onto the exchanges where the insurance companies can get away with newer higher rates because they have to cover what the old policies did not, like pre-existing conditions, continuous care, and preventative care at no cost. So could someone please stop blaming the idiots in the Administration, and look at who is actually canceling policies because they gave themselves an escape clause with help from the Democrats in Congress.
If that's true, then I retract my the points made about the technocratic mentality above. Even if the plans in effect since 2010 have been grandfathered in, that doesn't mean that the insurance companies can't decide to cancel them. The fault lies with the market, not with the governent, except that the government has created a program that all along has given too much freedom to the insurance companies.