IBD falsely claimed House health bill would "outlaw individual private coverage"
Research ››› ››› MATT GERTZ
Investor's Business Daily falsely claimed that the House tri-committee health-care reform bill includes "a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal."
In a July 15 editorial, subsequently highlighted by Rush Limbaugh and the Media Research Center, Investor's Business Daily falsely claimed that the House tri-committee health-care reform bill includes "a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal." The editorial later stated that the "provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage." That assertion is false; the bill will not "outlaw individual private coverage."
In fact, the provision to which the editorial referred establishes the conditions under which existing private plans would be exempted from the requirement that they participate in the Health Insurance Exchange. Individual health insurance plans that do not meet the "grandfather" conditions would still be available for purchase, but only through the Exchange and subject to those regulations.
In the editorial, Investor's Business Daily claimed:
When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee.
It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:
"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.
In fact, the paragraph in question states in context (emphasis added):
SEC. 102. PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE.
(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.
Sec. 102 subsection (c) states that "Individual health insurance coverage that is not grandfathered health insurance coverage under subsection (a) may only be offered on or after the first day of Y1 as an Exchange-participating health benefits plan."
According to the House committees' summary of the bill, the Health Insurance Exchange "creates a transparent and functional marketplace for individuals and small employers to comparison shop among private and public insurers."