END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (42 states)

Time: D H M S

Pete "Bazillion" Sessions just made the same impossible promise that got Obama into hot water 7 years ago.

 

Republican Pete Sessions just literally said "Nobody is going to lose their coverage, you'll be able to keep your same doctor," "same plan." pic.twitter.com/nn0f4dFloc

— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) March 22, 2017

(sigh)

Seven years ago, President Obama repeatedly made an infamous promise: That under the Affordable Care Act, "If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It...If You Like Your Doctor, You Can Keep Them."

As a big fan of Obama and a supporter of the ACA, this statement has been making me, and any intellectually honest Democrat, wince ever since.

As I've stated many, many, many times over the years:

President Obama's "If you like it you can keep it" statement would have been an impossible promise to keep regardless of how the ACA had been written, for a simple reason: Insurance companies drop one plan and replace it with another all the time, just like no one expects Apple to keep selling the same model of iPhone model for eternity even if they're making a big profit off of it.

Even if the ACA had allowed all existing noncompliant plans to remain in force forever (instead of only those enrolled in prior to March 2010), sooner or later those plans would have been discontinued by the carrier for various business reasons, including changing marketing strategies, mergers/acquisitions or going out of business altogether.

Regardless, in response to the massive backlash over the "You Can Keep It!" brouhaha, back in November 2013, President Obama and the HHS Dept. announced a "transitional plan" policy which allowed states to, if they wished, in turn allow insurance carriers to extend non-ACA compliant policies for a year past the original 12/31/13 cut-off date...and then by up to 3 years...and, eventually, up to 4 years. All non-compliant policies which people enrolled in after March 2010 were supposed to be discontinued as of the end of this year...except that new HHS Secretary Tom Price just went ahead and bumped the remaining ones (likely fewer than 1 million on the individual market at this point) out yet another year.

My suspicion is that at this point, even if the ACA remains otherwise intact, those "transitional" enrollees  might as well be lumped in with the "grandfathered" enrollees (those who enrolled in non-compliant policies before March 2013). That is, I suspect the remaining "transitionals" will stay intact until every one of the enrollees either dies or their carrier chooses to pull the plug (on the policy, not the enrollee, that is). So be it.

Anyway, while this was just as foolish a thing for GOP Representative Pete Sessions to say today as it was for President Obama to say back in 2009-2010, it's perhaps a bit more understandable coming from Sessions' mouth...because he's the same guy who said this two years ago:

“If you just do simple multiplication, 12 million [insured individuals] into $108 billion, we are talking literally every single [Obamacare] recipient would be costing this government more than $5 million per person for their insurance. It’s staggering….$108 billion for 12 million people is immoral. It’s unconscionable. ”

– Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), statement on the House floor, March 24, 2015

Instead of "$108 billion" Sessions meant "$95 billion", and instead of "12 million" he meant "23 million". So basically, he just, y'know, rounded things off a tad here and there.

The actual number Rep. Sessions should have used was "less than $5,000 per person" as opposed to "more than $5 MILLION per person" (off by a factor of 1,000x) or, if you believe his later "clarification", "$60,000 per person" (off by a factor of 12x).

For the record, if the ACA really did cost "more than $5 million" for every enrollee, that would be $60,000,000,000,000 ($60 Trillion), which I do admit would be a wee bit on the pricey side.