Individual Private Insurance Would Not Be Illegal

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Over on the public blog I saw a post that linked to a Investors Business Daily editorial which claimed a provision of the bill made "individual private medical insurance illegal."

But here's a hint: the quoted text from the bill starts out, "Except as provided in this paragraph." When you see that, it's a hint that you should read the rest of the paragraph.

If you read further, you find out the bill would only outlaw individual private health insurance that is not participating in the Health Insurance Exchange. It's right there:

Individual health insurance coverage that is not grandfathered health insurance coverage under subsection (a) may only be offered on or after the first day of Y1 as an Exchange-participating health benefits plan.

Now, this is still a really big deal: under this bill you could only buy individual health insurance products by going through the government and subjecting yourself to whatever terms and conditions the government mandates (mostly outside of the legislative process, mind you) for all such products. That is scary stuff. My friends and relatives on individual insurance are rightfully worried about this, especially given that the terms and conditions are not outlined in the bill, but left up to the new "Health Choices Commissioner" (whose explicit job it would be to limit your choices).

And it is, of course, quite possible that these mandates will essentially leave you with little or no choice: all products may end up costing about the same and having about the same benefits. And many, most, or even all private insurers may decide they cannot earn a profit under the government's conditions, and drop out of the individual health insurance market. All of this is possible, and scary.

But it would not outlaw individual private health insurance.

So I pointed all this out to a liberal friend of mine, and he informed me that this has been "all over the blogosphere." Being one who does not travel the blogcube, I looked around, and it seems he was right: many right-wing sites reprinted the original false claims from Investor's Business Daily as fact.


So, I present the facts here.

Have a good weekend!

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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