Journalism in the Public Interest

Answered: Why Two Obama Loyalists Lost Their Health Policies

Lack of kids’ dental benefits, other coverage gaps help “tank” couple’s Kaiser Permanente insurance plan — but so did contracts with California’s health insurance exchange.

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Ben Anderson

Nov. 13, 2013, 11:01 a.m.

Well what good little socalists you fellows are, or just perhaps the useful idiots Stalin spoke of. The true solution was to allow insurance companies to compete a cross state lines, to free up competition. That would have driven prices down.

As far as the assertion that profiting in healthcare is a crime against humanity, well why else is someone going to go into the healthcare field? Isn’t a doctor, or pharmacist, or research scientist entitled to the fruit of their labor? Lets get right down to it fellows, what you really want to say is “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.

That’s a nice fantasy, but it never works out that way. It always ends up destroying the middle class, oppressing the people, and enriching the tyrants.

Well, I hope you guys are in good health, you’re going to need to be once Obamacare is implemented.


Nov. 13, 2013, 2:08 p.m.

Herman, would you please speak more about the corrupt deals between CA regulators & the insurance companies. Thanks

Bill Crane

Nov. 13, 2013, 3:04 p.m.

Well, Ben, when it comes to protecting the health of my fellow Americans, I guess I am a “socialist.” 
Further, interstate access by health insurance companies as a strategy to reduce costs is a scam by the insurance companies. Do you really think they would reduce insurance costs if they got that passed.  Further, state, rather than federal control over insurance business seems like something that conservatives would approve.
Admit it, the part of “Obamacare” the right-wingers don’t like is the “Obama” part of it.  Otherwise, they would have come up with some alternative by now.

Bruce J Fernandes

Nov. 13, 2013, 3:16 p.m.


When this is written about years from now I have no doubt it will be easily determinable that had we left the system as is it would be far cheaper to provide emergency room coverage to the poor in addition to expanding Medicaid rather than what is going to happen which is the largest expansion of the welfare state and largest redistribution of wealth (in this case: Health wealth) ever.

So what if you give a free health insurance policy, after subsidies.  This person will not have the money for $30 doctor and medicine co-pays and $35 co-pay for x-rays.  Taking your child to the doctor for say chest congestion will be $30 doctor; $35 x-ray; $30 antibiotic.  They don’t have $95 and guess what?  You have to pay at point of service.

So it might have been better to expand Medicaid and develop what many of us who have spent our lives on the business side of heathcare have suggested is a great nationwide walk-in clinic system.

Providers like Southwest Medical and Health Plan of Nevada are operating clinics in Nevada.  Major drugstore chains are starting to get into this clinic structure.

I realize for liberals preferring socialism these are not ideal outcomes because the private sector would operate them for…......... profit dare I use that word or will NSA read my email and decide I am an enemy of the state?  Oh, that would have already happened since I have used the words: angry, black, militant, socialist president in the same sentence and I am sure Obama has his NSA looking for people like me who can be labeled as enemies of the statist quo Obama hopes to leave as his lasting legacy.

The republicans and democrats have no idea how to fix healthcare.  Neither party called for fogies like me who spent our working lives on the business side to come together with medical professional who worked their lives on the medical side to assist.  Do you really think 535 clowns most of whom know nothing about operating anything and probably could not operate a lemonade stand properly should have endeavored to inexorably alter our healthcare system forever?

Peter Squitieri

Nov. 13, 2013, 4:47 p.m.

Good article,  good analysis,  good point.  If we want to be able to take advantage of a system that medical underwriting (unlike the ACA):

Some people will be lucky,  not have health problems, and get cheap policies
Some people will be unlucky,  have health problems,  and have to pay a lot for policies.
Some people will be unlucky, have health problems,  and not be able to get insurance at all.

Hammack and Brothers were lucky and in the first group, and now want to stay in it for the rest of their lives. I wonder how they would have reacted when the policy group they were in got old, or stopped being so lucky,  and Kaiser either backed out of the plan, or had to raise the rates astronomically. 

If we want medical underwriting, we have to accept the consequences of it (see above).  If we don’t want those consequences,  we have to accept the consequences of very large risk pools,  which is what the ACA does.  You can’t have one choice for you and the other choice for everyone else.

Kevin Henry

Nov. 16, 2013, 2:55 a.m.

On the journalism front, ProPublica’s approach to the story has been pretty poor so far. The first article lacked any of the details required to understand this case and its broader implications. This update fills in many of the gaps, but still leaves some questions unanswered.

It’s unfortunate that we got this hasty, sloppy coverage instead of ProPublica’s usual in-depth journalism.

Jeff Stein

Nov. 18, 2013, 1:03 p.m.

Perhaps the reporting is a reflection of Obamacare itself.
“pretty poor so far”
“lacked any of the details required to understand this case and its broader implications”
“It’s unfortunate we got this hasty, sloppy coverage…”

Obamacare had five years. ProPublica had far less.

Speaking of five years. If they couldn’t implement Obamacare in five years, what makes them think they can fix it by the end of November?

One premise behind Obamacare was that it was going to save the country and individuals money through efficiencies. It is costing many individuals more than those that are saving. 1 million cancellations vs. 26k enrollees. Government on all levels are spending huge amounts of time and money on the mistakes. And, should healthcare insurers decide to rollback cancellations, all individuals will pay. Someone has to pay for the postage and printed paper of cancellations, and now cancelled cancellations. Not very efficient.

John Valerio

Nov. 18, 2013, 8:08 p.m.

Well, none of the results of the ACA should be a surprise. People ignore basic economics and then complain when basic economics punches them in the mouth. Politicians are not magicians. Yet people take them at their word when they make magical promises. Surprise! Reality rules the day.

As for these poor “victims” planning the lower their income to qualify for subsidies, I’ll say this to all:

The next time you sneer at someone for saying that economics tells us that people are indeed rational and respond in their own self interest to incentives, BELIEVE IT. THEY DO. It’s not BS. It’s the way it is.

BTW, I LOL’d when our “victims” asked Pelosi in to “fix it”. People can be so clueless…like little children.

Bruce J Fernandes

Nov. 18, 2013, 9:50 p.m.


Your reference to “like little children” brought back the memory of people in Los Angeles standing at the post office which had been burnt to the ground during the Rodney King riots.  These people were crying because they didn’t know where to go or what to do to get their welfare and other government payments now the post office was destroyed.

Government is in the dependency-creation business.  The more people dependent on government the better for the cause of bigger government.  Get to majority dependent and you have a situation in Britain where for years the labor party was re-elected on a simple platform of constantly reminding the people the conservative party would take away your government subsidies and benefits.

When Britain finally ran out of other people’s money the people finally recognized how destructive the socialist welfare state was and elected Margaret Thatcher to clean up the mess left behind by the socialists.  It was painful and it took years and I suspect we will have to travel that road here in the USA.

Liberal democrats need to be reminded of their heritage of what it meant to be a liberal democrat during the era of John Kennedy, Scoop Jackson and a host of other democrats that believed in the private sector and worked hard to cut taxes in 1961 setting off one of the largest expansions ever in the post WWII era.  In this week of the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination they should listen to the tape of JFK giving a talk at the Economic Club of New York in late 1962.

I remember my professor playing the tape and asking us who was giving the speech and while most of us thought it was JFK’s voice the words were not those of the type of liberal democrats we have grown used to in the modern era.

Obama couldn’t go to Gettysburg today and perhaps he should not go to JFK’s grave in a few days.  He has so shamed himself and his presidency and all past presidents with bald faced lies.

How could Obama go to hallowed ground in Gettysburg and give any speech where Lincoln once stood and how could he go to Arlington and stand next to the grave of a man like JFK who, if Clinton was willing to call Obama out imagine what JFK would have said to Obama inasmuch as he took full responsibility for Bay of Pigs; undeservingly.


Nov. 20, 2013, 9:24 p.m.

Bigger picture folks.  The government has now gone into the business of picking winners and losers.  Equal protection clause notwithstanding, the Democrats designed a plan to knowingly with malice of forethought victimize a percentage of the population and relegate them to loser class for purposes of Obama Care and what ever else the government decides they need to be losers on. 
Sounds like a broken social contract where I no longer owe any duty to the government or to my fellow citizen.


Nov. 23, 2013, 11:39 p.m.

I don’t understand what Hammack and Brothers are complaining about.  They vote for higher taxes to help the disadvantaged—to even out the inequalities.  This is just another opportunity to help all the people who are paying too much for insurance, or who have preexisting conditions that disqualify them for insurance, or who don’t make enough to afford insurance.

They were benefiting from a system that allowed insurance companies to exclude coverage and create pools of insurance with lower costs.  The guilt must have been unbearable, and now it’s being rectified.  Some people…they want to have their cake, but they don’t want to have to eat it too.

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