Last week I was informed by the agent who handles my firm’s health-care insurance that, come 2014, our group plan will be cancelled and replaced with an ObamaCare plan.
Never mind that President Obama, his spokespeople, and Democratic Congressional leaders all stated over and over that Americans happy with their health-care plans would be able to keep them. Never mind that none of that was true.
Now those same leaders – not to mention all sorts of political talking heads – are saying that the only plans being cancelled are subpar plans that don’t meet the minimum requirements of ObamaCare. They’re saying the cancellations will only affect a small percentage of individual plans.
None of that is true, either.
Our plan is a small business (2-50 employees) group PPO plan with low deductibles, out-of-network coverage, the whole nine yards. Read my lips: it’s not a subpar plan. And you know what it’s being replaced by? An EPO plan – a new designation with no out-of-network coverage at far higher premiums with a fraction of the number of doctors.
Here’s the thing. I’ve had PPO health-care coverage for decades. I don’t want to get into personal details here, but suffice to say that, without out-of-network coverage, I probably would have lost a loved one many years ago.
As I understand it, under ObamaCare, Blue Shield of California will no longer be offering PPO plans in quite a few California counties such as Alameda, which includes Oakland and Berkeley. Let me tell you: that’s a very big deal that will impact a lot of people.
When it comes to ObamaCare, everyone’s mincing words these days. They’re afraid to say our leaders lied. And they’re afraid to say they’re still lying. That’s entirely understandable. They want to be accurate. They want to be truthful. They want to be honest. Well thank God somebody does. Nobody in Washington seems to.
Well, here’s how I see it. It sure looks to me as if the President of the United States, members of his administration, and Democratic Congressional leaders didn’t just lie. I think they intentionally perverted the truth. And I think they did it because, if they didn’t, they knew the bill wouldn’t pass through Congress.
And Congress passed a bill it knew would dramatically impact Americans' rights – you know, our inalienable constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – without even reading it. And they subverted the constitution by using the Commerce Clause to ram it through the Senate without a single Republican vote.
If that isn’t enough, the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare’s individual mandate as a tax, even though President Obama and congressional leaders clearly stated it wasn’t a tax. Had they proposed it as a tax, they never would have gotten it through Congress.
I wish this was just about lying, dishonesty, and accountability. To me, it goes way beyond that. To me, and apparently the Merriam Webster dictionary, this is fraud:
fraud noun \ˈfrȯd\
a : deceit, trickery; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right
If a CEO or CFO of a public corporation pulled something like this, it would be fraud. The only difference is this fraud was committed against the American people. Not a small percentage of the American people. Not just the ones with individual coverage. Not just the ones who had subpar plans, whatever that means.
We’ve recently seen reports that, way back in 2010, the Obama administration knew ObamaCare would dramatically disrupt private health insurance plans. They knew that at least 93 million Americans would lose their health plan coverage. And, by some estimates, the actual number will be much higher.
According to the administration’s commentary in the Federal Register, in addition to individual plan disruption, “The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66% of small employer plans and 45% of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013.”
Perhaps more importantly, under ObamaCare we will have fewer choices, higher premium costs, and far fewer doctors. Let me spell that out for you: fewer choices + higher costs + fewer doctors = poorer health care.
I’m no constitutional expert but it sure looks to me as if at least two branches of the Federal Government – branches that are supposed to provide checks and balances to keep each other from overstepping their bounds – committed fraud by perverting the truth and subverting the constitution to get Americans to give up some of their rights.
Let me tell you something, folks. We’ve seen this sort of leadership behavior before. We’ve seen it at companies like Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and Adelphia. If you’ve ever wondered what makes powerful executives commit fraud, the answer is simple. They think they’re above the truth and the law. They think they know better. And they think they can exert their will over others without being held to account.
When that happens, it’s called absolute power, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That’s what I think we’re seeing here. The organization of our federal government into three unique and autonomous branches was supposed to keep this sort of thing from happening. It didn’t. It failed.
How can we the people let this stand? And if we do, what’s next?
Steve Tobak is a management consultant, columnist, former senior executive and author of "Real Leaders Don't Follow: Being Extraordinary in the Age of the Entrepreneur." Learn more, contact Tobak or follow his new blog at stevetobak.com. Any opinions expressed are those of the columnist.