Of all the pithy phrases conjured up by Democrats during the health care debate, this had to have been one of the most effective: “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep it.” This phrase was beaten into the public with such regularity no one can blame Americans for beginning to believe it. Unfortunately, like so many of the Administrations proposals, the rhetoric doesn’t match the reality. Health insurance companies have dropped coverage for children as the new law makes it incredibly difficult for insurance companies to make a buck. So now children don’t have insurance and businesses aren’t profiting, nobody wins.
The most recent refutation of the “you can keep your insurance if you want it” myth comes from none other than Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services. Last week Sebelius granted waivers to companies or labor unions who couldn’t comply with the new coverage mandates included within the health care legislation. One would think that the army of economists employed by the Obama Administration could have told Democrats that if you force companies to increase benefits, costs will rise. When costs rise you get less of something, in this case health insurance. Retreating from the theoretical, the health care law raised costs on employers so much that they were going to stop providing health care for their employees, they could no longer afford to.
In order to prevent hundreds of thousands of worker from losing their insurance a month out from the elections, Sebelius waived the new insurance mandate for some coverage providers. The largest benefactor was United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund, a New York union providing coverage for over 350,000 city teachers. In 2008 alone, the same union and New York State United Teachers spent $6.6 million on political activities, presumably advocating for Democrats. While it is encouraging that thousands of teachers will not lost their health insurance, waivers should not be granted exclusively to Democratic donors—the provision should be abolished in its entirety. Given the length, the bill was over 2,000 pages, and the haste at which the health care law was rushed through Congress, there inevitably were errors. This is clearly one of them, responsible Democrats should suck it up and repeal it.