Posted by Rojas @ 3:37 pm on July 16th 2009

Does the House Health Care bill ban private insurance?

Investor’s Business Daily claims that it does. Specifically, they point to an early paragraph in the bill that, to most appearances, prevents the creation of new private health care plans. The long and the short of it is that this would allow people to keep their existing insurance, but would not permit new options to be offered by the private sector; nor would it permit new employees to be enrolled in existing private sector programs. It would also amount to a permanent prohibition on health savings accounts.

I think some further analysis of this section is required, and I’ll be interested in hearing different interpretations from the bill’s proponents. Because of my disgust with the current health care system and the cost of care, I am trying to keep an open mind about reforms. But I am understandably less than eager to spend a trillion dollars over ten years on a boondoggle, and new government programs ought to be considered boondoggles until proven otherwise.

The full text of the bill may be found here. IBD is up in arms about the contents of page 16.


  1. Page 16 doesn’t ban all new private health care plans. It requires new private health care plans to get “approval” by the government. I don’t know if it’s an improvement over Massachusetts or just a side-step. But in Massachusetts the state had the power to go through existing insurance and decide that the insurance policy didn’t meet the definition the state wanted for “insurance.” This proposal allows for grandfathering, but a process to review new policies.

    Comment by FreedomDemocrat — 7/16/2009 @ 8:22 pm

  2. Media matters puts out the some goods on the claim.

    They got the link to the legislation
    The relevant section starts at page 14.
    Basically it seems to say that benefit plans that don’t meet the new standards for the health exchange can be kept by consumers if they choose.
    That’s what it appears to say to me, but Im not a lawyer and reading lawyer stuff makes my brain hurt.

    Comment by thimbles — 7/16/2009 @ 9:44 pm

  3. Hilzoy hates you Rojas.

    That sounds scary! It also sounds completely implausible. So I went and looked at the actual bill, and there that paragraph was, on p. 16, in a section defining the term “Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage”. The fact that it’s in a definition might lead readers to conclude that it doesn’t mean that you can’t buy individual insurance after the bill takes effect, but only that you can’t buy such insurance and have it meet the bill’s definition of “Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage”. There is a difference.

    Comment by Brad — 7/17/2009 @ 12:00 pm

  4. There is a significant difference between, on the one hand, asking questions about the content and suggesting that more analysis would be welcome, and on the other hand passing on the IBD analysis as fact.

    Comment by Rojas — 7/17/2009 @ 1:46 pm

  5. Indeed there is. I was being snarky.

    Comment by Brad — 7/17/2009 @ 1:52 pm

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