Politics & Policy

No, You Can’t Keep It

So far the part of the Obamacare rollout that is going most smoothly and affecting the most people is the cancellation of current insurance polices. In states around the country, hundreds of thousands of people are getting notices from insurers that their plans are no longer allowed by the law. All told, 16 million people may be dumped from their policies, in flagrant contradiction of President Obama’s famous promise that you can keep your health plan if you like it. 

Maybe the president didn’t understand the basic architecture of his own health care law, which depends on a government takeover of the individual insurance market. The rules governing the new system impose a novel federal definition of insurance on the country, and plans that dont meet it, regardless of how well they may have served their customers in the past, are, by and large, verboten. Some are grandfathered, but the rules are strict and a great many existing plans wont pass muster.

#ad#The woes of Healthcare.gov mean that the people with cancelled policies who are supposed to go find new insurance on the exchange can’t for now, and may not be able to by December 15, when they’d need to sign up to stay insured on January 1. When and if the website is finally functioning, many of these people won’t like what they see. In contradiction of another famous Obama promise, they will be charged more for their insurance to subsidize the costs of other people on the exchanges. For millions of Americans, Obamacare will be an experience in plumbing the depths of the dishonesty of President Obama’s case for his signature domestic accomplishment.

Unfortunately, Republicans can’t undo the law in one fell swoop. They can work to delay key provisions, chip away at its coercive power, and illustrate its folly, toward the longer-term goal of rolling it back in its entirety and replacing it with something better. To that end, Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson will introduce legislation to allow people to keep their current health plans by grandfathering as many of them as possible. A debate on the bill will accent the emptiness of President Obama’s assurances and further pressure red-state Democrats who have shown an eagerness to distance themselves from the law over the past two weeks. House Republicans should take up and pass the measure, which is likely to have bipartisan support, just as a proposed delay of the individual mandate did.

Ultimately, the only way to allow people to keep (and buy) the insurance they want is to repeal the law and foster a true market in health insurance. Until then, the wrecking ball of Obamacare swings.

The Editors — The Editors comprise the senior editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

It’s the Stock Market, Stupid

Before going any further, I must say that I don’t believe Protectionist Donald really will go all the way with his present attempt to strangle global trade. I believe that the end run will be quite similar to what it was with the steel and aluminum tariffs — which is to say, a photo op in the Oval Office. ... Read More

An Even Worse Vatican Deal with China

Of all the disturbing and even silly things that have been said in defense of the deal between the Vatican and China reportedly being negotiated, the most offensive is that critics of this proposed arrangement to regularize Catholic life in the PRC don’t understand that the Cold War is over and the world is in ... Read More

Ten Things that Caught My Eye Today (March 23, 2018)

I send out a free weekly e-mail newsletter that typically goes out Saturday mornings and includes WFB flashbacks, Firing Line videos, upcoming events, and some of what I’ve been up to. Sign up here. 1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan in the Wall Street Journal: Talking about New York, he noted: 2. The Guardian on the ... Read More
National Review

Palm Sunday with WFB

The wonderful National Review Institute forum in New York City last month, held on the tenth anniversary of Bill Buckley’s death -- but truly a celebration of his life and legacy -- was captured by the good folks at C-SPAN, who now tell us that two panels of the forum will be broadcast this Sunday on C-SAN 3. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Sliming of Bari Weiss

If you follow at all the ideological war that’s erupted around the New York Times editorial page, then you know Bari Weiss. It’s too much to call Bari conservative. A better description might be heterodox. On some issues, particularly social issues and immigration, she’s a woman of the Left. On others — ... Read More