Saturday, November 2, 2013
Robert Reich: Why we Need the Affordable Care Act in the first place
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, writes in a new email that “Barack Obama knowingly and repeatedly lied to Americans.” Priebus and other Republicans are piling on the President for saying about the Affordable Care Act that “if you like your insurance plan you can keep it,” in light of millions of Americans in the private-insurance market (covering about 5 percent of us) now seeing their rates soar or policies cancelled. What Priebus and other Republicans don’t say is that even before the Act went into effect, individual insurance plans typically had to be renewed annually, many were cancelled without warning, and year-to-year rates were already soaring. The Act allows insurers to continue offering their old plans, but many insurers are choosing not to. In other words, the Act isn’t the culprit; the insurers are. Obama is being skewered for failing to warn Americans what they should already have known: that the market for private insurance is totally unreliable. Which is why we needed the Affordable Care Act in the first place (and why it would have been even better as a single-payer add-on to Medicare and Social Security).