Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Thursday, July 16, 2009

  Can right-wingers read?

Any post with a title such as that probably should be an ongoing series.

Today the right-wing nuts hostile to health care reform have seized upon and uncritically parroted a frivolous accusation made by the hyper-right-wing Investor's Business Daily. Their absurd claim is that the House Democrats' health care bill would outlaw private health insurance. The evidence? A single sentence snatched out of context from a document of more than 1,000 pages.

Here's the accusation:

The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:

"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.

So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.

What IBD neglects to mention is that the subheading that this sentence occurs under reads: GRANDFATHERED HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE DEFINED. That's what "such coverage" in the quoted sentence refers to. The bill does of course allow other health insurance plans to be developed in the future, but they're just not grandfathered.

You'd have thought that before making the accusation, or parroting it, the right-wingers would have read the relevant part of the bill (PDF). Brings us back to our original question.

One high-profile right-wing nut who evidently didn't bother to read the bill before parroting IBD, later posted this hilariously revealing update:

Reader Patrick Ying disagrees:

Investor’s Business Daily did not continue to read the bill to page 19. “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. ” It does not outlaw individual private coverage – you can still buy the plan on the Exchange where they will compete with the public option, not be replaced by it. The advantage of the Exchange, is that the coverage no longer has one of the problems of individual coverage – skyrocketing premiums should you become ill.

Hmm. We should have more time for all this stuff to be sorted out. Instead they’re ramming it through as quickly as possible. That makes me suspicious.

The "stuff" will be sorted out by those who bother to read it, of course. Hmm. Now that is suspicious.

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