Health Insurance Latest: Obama's Apology and More

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jennifer Haberkorn, healthcare reporter for Politico, discusses the latest on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and how the policy came up during the Sunday political talk shows.



Jennifer Haberkorn and Ken Lovett

Comments [58]


"What comprise is the caller and Lehrer referring to?? Obamacare passed with only Democrat votes."

The PPACA was derived largely from plans put forward by The Heritage Foundation and other GOP plans - Jack Kemp, Bob Dole and others. It took a GOP senator's vote - Snow, I think - in order to get it out of committee. The GOP 'must haves' in order to get the bill to the floor are what peeled off the public option leaving us prey to the private insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Other programs which could have simplified this whole soup entirely were denuded. My point is that there was plenty of compromise during the drafting process. Once drafted, the GOP tried to make like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown and withdrew all of their support knowing that an Obama win on this issue would make the party look bad FOR GENERATIONS.

If Obamacare is so bad, what is the GOP alternative? Haven't heard anything but crickets whenever a pol is asked that one.

Nov. 11 2013 07:54 PM

@Chris from New York

"I work in the private sector for a large company (~15,000 employees). We just received our open enrollment forms for 2014 and every plan's premiums, split equally by the employer and employee, increased by 10% for the same coverage."

You have NO EVIDENCE that your plan costs would not have gone up with or without Obamacare. Many NY plans HAVE CUT their premiums since more folks are now (presumably) in the pool of payers.

"Additionally, my Medicare taxes increased by ~2.5% of my income. In short, I will be spending significantly more in 2014 on the same health care benefits under the Obamacare plans."

That's outrageous! PPACA was scheduled to add .9% on incomes over $200K. No one should see an increase as big as 2.5%! Speak to your HR rep and get that increase explained.

Nov. 11 2013 07:37 PM
Chris from New York

I work in the private sector for a large company (~15,000 employees). We just received our open enrollment forms for 2014 and every plan's premiums, split equally by the employer and employee, increased by 10% for the same coverage.

Additionally, my Medicare taxes increased by ~2.5% of my income. In short, I will be spending significantly more in 2014 on the same health care benefits under the Obamacare plans.

Nov. 11 2013 03:34 PM

What comprise is the caller and Lehrer referring to?? Obamacare passed with only Democrat votes. So any comprises were between democrats. Obama was unwilling to make comprises that would have allowed the bill to pass on a bipartisan vote. So Obamacare is the democrat dream plan.

Basically those getting huge subsides are happy with the plan. The people who are getting stuck paying for the subsidies with substantial premium increases are not happy. Wait till the tax bill on this huge entitlement comes due -then the real screaming will start.

Nov. 11 2013 01:59 PM

Wow, I went to that HealthSherpa site and it said the plan I pay for myself pre-Obamacare is qualified as "catastrophic" and that I'll have to pay 100 dollars more a month to buy a "bronze" plan? I'm poor enough that I'll probably get some kind of reimbursement in my tax return but that's not going to pay my student loans every month! Sorry, but Obamacare is bull. Obama is a sellout Republican appeaser. I'd rather have Mitt Romney, at least he openly favors corporate profits instead of sneaking around behind closed doors like Obama.

Nov. 11 2013 01:22 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Not only did Barry LIE.... but he then LIED about the LIES.

This little punk should be impeached.

Nov. 11 2013 12:03 PM
In late with The Truth from Becky

I have been paying for coverages that didn't apply to me for YEARS, IF you are standing on that argument CLEARLY you need ACA because you are demonstrating by your ignorance that you have never PAID for medical coverage.

Nov. 11 2013 11:36 AM


I appreciate your sincere, albeit incorrect, assertion that I am willfully ignorant about my personal choices. Of course I understood what the plan covers (and will continue to cover until 12/31/13). But I understand where you are coming from:

“No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”
― George Orwell, Animal Farm

And regarding that sherpa website, I plugged in my zipcode and was presented with this:

"We're Working On It. New York has their own healthcare exchange, and hasn't shared that data with us yet. We are working around the clock to import their data from state records."

So, a visit to the NY website and I got this:

"We have been notified by the U.S. federal government that certain Federal Data Services associated with the Hub are down until Tuesday, November 12th. As a result, new applicants will not be able to sign up until the Federal Data Services are restored. If you are a new applicant, we encourage you to return later."


Nov. 11 2013 11:25 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I'm not sure Obama "lied" - Clinton lied, Reagan lied, Nixon Lied.

The language that caused these plans to be dropped, was there, hiding in plain sight.

No one, from Obama, his staff and advisers - down to virtually every democrat that towed the line, bothered to see the disconnect between what Obama said - promised, and the language in the bill that made these independent, albeit flawed plans redundant. Sheer incompetence.

Nov. 11 2013 11:14 AM

Do you even know what your junk insurance covered or did not cover? I sincerely doubt it.
All you know is that it was cheap and thank the man with the beard you didn't have to use it for anything bigger than a migraine.

Nov. 11 2013 10:59 AM


Thanks for the great tool. I will pass it on to everyone I know.

PS.. Everything you said was spot on.

Nov. 11 2013 10:55 AM
Miscellaneous from NYC

@ saaby: "pay for prostrate coverage..."

1. No one has a prostrate, but men have prostates.

2. Men pay for ob/gyn care and they don't get pregnant.

The whole deal is that the more money into the system, the less each individual pays. That is why people who don't have lung cancer pay for people who do, and people who don't have diabetes pay for people who do, etc. Spread out the payments and get a better deal.

Nov. 11 2013 10:51 AM

I agree with Cynthia. Why do women have to pay for prostrate coverage if they don't even have one?

Nov. 11 2013 10:36 AM
Nikos from Manhattan

If the old folks are worried about paying for maternity, the young folks shouldn't have to pay for all the teflon knees, hips and whatever else. The burden must be shared. However,I am happy that this plan is not successful. Maybe, it will force us into a single payer system, like the rest of the developed countries have...

Nov. 11 2013 10:35 AM
Self-employed in NJ from Montclair

The man who complained that his parents have to pay for a plan that includes maternity care needs to understand that healthy young people are paying for plans that include care for elderly people like them who have more health issues as they age. The whole point of insurance is that we're all in this together; no one knows who will really need lots of care and who won't. If this man's parents get very sick in the future and need tons of care, he and they will be singing a different tune. Their care will cost way more than having a baby. That's the whole point of insurance: to make sure everyone gets the care they need. We all pay in, whether we end up needing it or not. This caller exhibits typical Republican thinking: me, me, me. "If I don't personally need it right now, I don't want to pay even a penny for it." They can't see the bigger picture, they can't imagine anything being any different for them than it is right at this moment. It's like Nancy Reagan not giving a hoot about any sort of public health issues until her precious Ronnie gets Alzheimer's, and then suddenly she cares so much and becomes a crusader. Me, me, me.

Nov. 11 2013 10:34 AM
Cynthia Herzegovitch from East Harlem - work

Come on people - in the private sector these are the plans - all my life I have had maternity coverage in the plan - but I also pay for heart disease etc, pediatrics - its pay a little now so when you know what happens you don't go broke. It covers all medical issues. NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. Its being done through the private sector and competition. Phony coverage is being exposed - and can we please talk about the true cost of some of these plans not the premium costs. IE High deductables you will never reach. Limited doctor visits you exhaust in one incident. High co-pays and low percentages (ie the 60/40 or even 50/50 slit) for stuff they do cover. This is COMPREHENSIVE coverage - not cafeteria coverage. What you don't need today you may very well need tomorrow. Is the answer really to encourage more emergency none covered usage of our hospitals where we all wind up paying for it anyway.


Nov. 11 2013 10:29 AM
joseph bell from Downtown

I price insurance policies for a living. Maternity coverage in all policies is not absurd. Every policy issued to MEN covers mammograms and breast exams! Haven't looked at the data but generally I believe that maternity services would not have a major price impact on the affected policies forthe risk pool involved in the talking point examples..

Nov. 11 2013 10:29 AM
Ana from UWS

Interesting Times Op-Ed on the subject:

Nov. 11 2013 10:29 AM
J M from UWS

No one ever mentions the fact that health insurers are dropping all PPO plans.

You can no longer go out of network.

Every plan has an in-network deductible.

You have to get referrals for every visit.

I had all this before my plan was dropped.

This is a real blow if you live in NYC because half the doctors -- ie the good ones -- aren't in network.

Nov. 11 2013 10:29 AM
Geoff from Yonkers

Healthy people who never have to use the insurance they are required to carry are not losers, they are fortunate indeed, and could need it at any moment, that's the point. Brian, how could you let this go?

Nov. 11 2013 10:29 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm past menopause but have no problem w/paying into a pool that will cover other women's maternity care. Or men's prostate cancer.

Nov. 11 2013 10:28 AM
Nick from UWS

Brian, this woman said that Obama might not have known that what he was saying was inaccurate. Why didn't you challenge her on that, saying it was his BUSINESS to know whether what he was saying was accurate? What kind of journalism is this? For Christ's sake, challenge somebody's BS.

Nov. 11 2013 10:27 AM

@FBastiat from NJ


Do you really think so? Nixon acted to scuttle the Paris Peace talks that would have ended the war in 1969. [fact] The result 4 more years for us, six more years of war for Vietnam.

Everything that you claim Obama has done, does not come close.

Nov. 11 2013 10:26 AM
patricia from quires you to buy things that you don;t

what this program and others on NPR continuously fail to recognize is not that people are being forced to buy coverage they don;t need- insurance always requires you to buy for things that you may or may not need- what this coverage does is make individual coverage akin to employer based coverage, which is a much more comprehensive coverage that contains lots of things you might never use. this is an absurdity- to imagine that you can buy coverage AS you need for only what you need it for. insurance just doesn't work that way. this is a libertarian view of insurance, which just goes against the definition of insurance.

Nov. 11 2013 10:26 AM
Estelle from Brooklyn

Nobody mentions that lots of insurance companies have you paying for things that don't apply to you. My home insurance has me paying for insurance on a garage that I don't have and for hundreds of thousands dollars worth of home furnishings which I don't have.

Nov. 11 2013 10:26 AM

…too f*N convoluted.

Single payer, please.

Nov. 11 2013 10:25 AM
Hannah Podob from NY

How about the Republicans apologizing for all the rheteric they spewed. "Death Panels, Trilions of dollars cost, etc.They're the ones that forced Pres. Obama to keep changing the policy to try and get them on board, which dnever would have worked, no matter what Pres. Obama did.

Nov. 11 2013 10:24 AM
Dorothy from MANHATTAN

Of course the new policy is going to be more expensive. The ins. co. (XYZ Co.) cancels a policy and says you need far more expensive policy. Standard Operating Procedure. However, better coverage then old OR new policy is available from company ABC at lower or comparable rate.

Elderly couple getting pregnancy coverage is probably $1 a month. Everybody pays small amount for a particular coverage and nobody pays very much.

Nov. 11 2013 10:24 AM
Christine from Westchester

@Peg: why should policies include things people won't use? That's like saying at some point everyone needs to drive their kids around so everyone should have a car that seats 6 to keep the automobile industry afloat.

Affordable care shouldn't mean it's now affordable for those who couldn't afford coverage before but everyone else's policy goes up and is screwed. While there are up sides to the ACA (coverage for dependents up to age 26, existing condition coverage), this has been so badly done that no one can possibly say this is a good thing overall. Train wreck indeed.

Nov. 11 2013 10:24 AM
J M from UWS

No one ever mentions the fact that health insurers are dropping all PPO plans.

You can no longer go out of network.

Every plan has an in-network deductible.

You have to get referrals for every visit.

I had all this before my plan was dropped.

This is a real blow if you live in NYC because half the doctors -- ie the good ones -- aren't in network.

Nov. 11 2013 10:22 AM
carolita from nyc

To the scenario of people in their senior years who don't "need" maternity care, you could say that people in their 20's don't need Alzeimer's care to be covered. They are paying for senior needs, while seniors are paying for younger people's needs. It's a fair trade-off. Otherwise what next? People who find out they have that genetic mutation that makes them immune to AIDs will say, hey, I don't need to help pay for HIV treatment for the rest of the people enrolled in my policy? Meanwhile, these people can refuse to pay for other conditions they have no genetic disposition to have? No, this is not how insurance works.

Nov. 11 2013 10:22 AM
Ellen from Manhattan

who is this apologist caller?! We KNOW that he and the administration knew in 2010 that people would lose their coverage. It has been exposed and not up for debate.

Nov. 11 2013 10:20 AM
Nick from UWS


Nov. 11 2013 10:20 AM
joseph bell from downtown

The tale about someones's parent being forced off of a plan they like is probably false or confused at best. The parents were likely covered by Medicare. Not a small point.

Nov. 11 2013 10:20 AM
Amy from Manhattan

1. Of course the law didn't *require* insurance co's. to drop current plans--the question is, why didn't the law *prohibit* them from dropping plans people wanted to keep?

2. Could the gov't. extend subsidies to cover the difference btwn. the cost of the plans people are dropped from & the cost of the new PPACA insurance policies for those who will have to pay more?

Nov. 11 2013 10:19 AM
Joyce from NYC

"you could go with a different insurance company once you go on the exchange."

Could the show PLEASE have on a guest who has actually SUCCESSFULLY SIGN UP.

Nov. 11 2013 10:17 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ everyone

Hmmmm. Mr.Bad said that premiums AND deductibles would be higher and he was shouted down by insurance industry trolls and Obama apologists...

Where are they now?

It's great that very sick people are insured now but we could have had that WITHOUT the ACA and simply expanded medicare or medicaid.

Obama earned this debacle by exhausting his political capital in achieving this pyrrhic vicory: It's a failure. We need single payer. You haven't even seen the worst of it yet. Costs will skyrocket, the 80/20 rule means that the ONLY way to increase revenue is to increase costs. Wait for it...

@ Brian Lehrer

C'mon dude, are you serious, the dems made a deal with the devil and now the insurers are screwing everyone and you're SURPRISED? Don't be a such a concern troll/Democratic muppet.

Nov. 11 2013 10:17 AM
FBastiat from NJ


Nov. 11 2013 10:17 AM
Nick from UWS

By far the biggest and most important question here is the fact that Obama had years to prepare this system and perfect it, which Obama should have done if he was so sure the law would pass, and yet they obviously cobbled it together at the last minute. WHY?

Nov. 11 2013 10:17 AM

Tired of listening to complainers that they must be covered for maternity care when they won't be getting pregnant. At one point ALL of us needed maternity care. And like education, it's something that is so necessary to society that we ALL share in the cost.

I will be better off under the Affordable Care Act. I was under the impression that no one would be asked to pay more than 10% of their income. Is this so? Is anyone paying more than 10%?

Nov. 11 2013 10:16 AM

All this could have been avoided if the Democrats had not made a pact with the devil insurance industry instead of expanding Medicare and establishing a single-payer system everybody is automatically enrolled in. They are getting what they deserve for their craven capitulation.

Nov. 11 2013 10:15 AM
Ben from Westchester

Brian, I won't pretend to solve the problem overall of what to do. But I am SHOCKED that the world's most intelligent public affairs radio host who has a degree in PUBLIC HEALTH is letting callers and politicians get away with a blatant lie.

A caller just parroted a standard Republican talking point -- "my parents are over the age of having children, yet they are required to have maternity care, so it is costing more," etc.

I hope you understand that insurance companies employ large teams of ACTUARIES. These are people who have Ph.D.s in math and are experts at calculating what are the odds that any specific person will require any specific coverage at any specific cost. They are very good at this and have been doing it for centuries.

If a policy added one million post-menopausal women to its rolls, who all had maternity coverage, who all would require zero maternity benefits, then the actuaries would know that it would require ZERO additional costs to the company and thus ZERO additional fees.

Any further decision to raise rates would be a willful one by the insurance companies. But nobody should blame the new law for this.

Nov. 11 2013 10:15 AM
Muriel from NYC

Enough with slamming Obama for the Affordable Care Act and it's computer problems. We know how tough it is to get it right already, i'm on the phone with Apple support frequently, I'm also always on the phone with the cable company and their systems have been up for years. All I hear is "Who's to blame?" "Obama lied" I never hear any of the opposition say what can we do to help, how can we make this work for all of us? The Bush administration LIED about two wars and had 8 years to prosecute them and they failed.

Nov. 11 2013 10:15 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

@Nick from UWS -

And wrong you would be....They had a working model of the website in June 2012 - using open source software. Changing to a proprietary model 'goofed the floof'.

Nov. 11 2013 10:15 AM
Joyce from NYC

Yes, you're right -- a LITTLE LYING is acceptable to achieve a totalitarian end.

Nov. 11 2013 10:15 AM
Christine from Westchester

But wasn't the point of the ACA to make it AFFORDABLE? Nice that the government has decided what kind of policy one might need but now that everyone's rates are going up, how is this affordable care?

Nov. 11 2013 10:14 AM

"Worth the lying to get it done". Forward Comrades!

Nov. 11 2013 10:13 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

@Jim -

Your policy sure was cancelled by the insurance company. Regarding your bump in premium, you'd have to prove it.

What's your estimate on new plans?

We were on a 'catastrophic' (now cancelled Blue Cross plan) and will be paying $1,400 more per year for a compliant plan but qualify for a $550 subsidy. More out of pocket but a far more inclusive coverage.

Nov. 11 2013 10:13 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

A friend of mine got Obama care out in California after her insurance company informed her that her plan would no longer be available in Jan.’14.
The new plan, under Obama care, has better coverage and is very affordable.

Nov. 11 2013 10:12 AM
Joyce from NYC

It's PUZZLING ?????????

No, it's not PUZZLING !!!!!!!!

He LIED in order to get through congress a totalitarian program. PERIOD.

Nov. 11 2013 10:12 AM

The truth is some people bought fake insurance

Nov. 11 2013 10:10 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

The caller is WRONG....Obama did not cancel anyone's insurance. The PLANS were grandfathered in...The insurance companies have opted to cancel many of these non-compliant plans.

So whose fault is that??

Nov. 11 2013 10:09 AM
Nick from UWS

The fact that they "rolled this out" before it was even vaguely functional shows the deep, intractable incompetence, bottomless insincerity and sheer idiocy of the US Government. It is absolutely inexcusable, and just validates my conviction, often stated on this forum, that NOTHING the US Government tells anybody is ever, EVER, the truth. They are not competent to run ANYTHING.

Nov. 11 2013 10:09 AM
Joyce from NYC

Hey, what happened to the 5 people who the show was following as they signed up??????


Nov. 11 2013 10:09 AM
Dee from Montclair

No one seems to remember the annual staff meeting in October when you were told your company was changing plans and by the way your premiums and co-pays were doubling and you had to pick a new doctor. And, if you had a pre-existing condition it wouldn't be covered. Ah, the good old days.

I paid into insurance for 27 years, and when I was laid off COBRA was prohibitively expensive. Then I fell and was hurt and lost my house.

Nov. 11 2013 10:07 AM


That is disgusting. My wife's 'junk insurance', which worked well for us, was not dropped because the insurance company decided to do it. It was dropped because the law required it. Our combined rates are now going up by about 80%.

Nov. 11 2013 10:07 AM

crocodile tears

Nov. 11 2013 10:03 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Obama's apology for the 'overstatement' about the availability of the current plans and doctors is not fatal to ACA. His speechwriters *should have known* about the size of the 'junk insurance' market and the amount of yearly churn contained therein. Then BHO could have scoped the problem for us by adding "...all current plans have been grandfathered in and if your coverage is dropped that was your insurer's choice." The fact that they didn't know enough about what they were doing to prep this right is concerning but the overall program [everybody has health insurance and some who cannot afford it are given a subsidy OR they get fined] is a good one.

Is it the best one? Nope. Is it the cheapest? Nope. But it is far, far better than what existed before it.

The GOP position - staking all of their political capital in killing Obamacare and doing nothing else to govern - is based on a faulty premise that all of the opposition would rather have nothing. They are wrong. 22-25% of the opposition WANT SINGLE PAYER or at least a PUBLIC OPTION.

For those wanting a quick comparison estimate of the plans available to them under Obamacare, check out . You'll have an estimate within seconds.

Nov. 11 2013 09:59 AM

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