You like it, you can’t keep it
Throughout the debate over healthcare reform, President Obama insisted that individuals would be able to maintain their current healthcare plan: “If you like it, you can keep it.” It was a refrain that was used as Congress was writing the bill, as the bill struggled to pass, and now the president continues to claim that the law will allow individuals to keep their coverage.And you can afford the 50% increase in your premium and the $3,000 yearly deductible.
The talking point may be consistent, but talking points aren’t law. Right now, the Department of Health and Human Services, administered by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, is implementing the law in ways that radically transform the coverage of many Americans.
Over the next few years, millions of American families, individuals and retired seniors will see their health coverage transformed by new regulations and decisions made by the Secretary and her successors. The bill uses the phrase, “The Secretary shall,” or one of its variants, more than 1,000 times. This means that Congress has left many of the important decisions regarding implementation up to the Secretary and the bureaucracy.
If you like it, you can keep it; but only if the Secretary agrees.