Massachusetts Governor Slams People Who Want to Keep Their Insurance Plans

by Sean Hackbarth
Nov 6, 2013

Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA). Photographer: Michael Springer/Bloomberg.

In a speech before a group of Obamacare supporters in Washington, D.C., Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick went on the attack in defending President Obama’s broken promise: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” From Politico:
He described the people receiving those bare-bones insurance plans as “free-riders,” whose health care costs are often foisted on the rest of the country when they can’t afford their out-of-pocket costs. “Without real insurance that’s there when you need it, you just become another so-called free rider,” he said.
In Boston last week, President Obama took a similar line when he brushed off the concerns of those getting cancelation letters, saying those health insurance plans were “substandard,” because they didn’t offer the benefits mandated under the health care law. He said that consumers would be getting better coverage (but at a higher cost).
This attitude didn’t sit well with Dave Hamilton, writer and publisher of, an Apple news website, who wrote on his personal blog:
Yesterday, Mr. Obama called the type of health insurance plan that has served my family for 10+ years "substandard." This type of plan has served us through the birth of a child, several sets of broken bones, major invasive surgery and related hospitalization, a concussion, Lyme disease, Bell's Palsy, and all manner of everyday maladies that happen to a growing family.
Every year I take the previous three years' numbers and run them against all kinds of insurance plans. I, too, like the "pie in the sky" idea of a no-fuss, $30-copay, and every year I hope that my math will show me that in at least one of the previous three years that would have been the smart plan to get. But every single time I do the math it shows me that the only correct move for us is the one I have always chosen: a high-deductible plan that does nothing more than protect us from bankruptcy. True insurance.
With this type of plan we pay for our healthcare starting with dollar one, and the plan essentially only kicks in when we've spent more than about $5,000 on any one person in the family. Yes, that means our cash flow is sometimes unpredictably impacted, but it saves us thousands every year.

Every year I put a lot of responsible thought and effort into choosing exactly the right health insurance plan for my family, and for our President — someone to whom we're supposed to look up and respect — to call it "substandard" says to me that he thinks I'm a substandard father for actively and repeatedly choosing this path for my family.

There are millions of people in the same situation as Hamilton. They are small business owners and self-employed individuals who are buying their own insurance but are either seeing their plans being canceled or premiums raised because of Obamacare’s mandates and regulations that tightly limited the continuation of grandfathered plans.
For instance, Doug Flynn, co-founder of Flynn Zito Capital Management, told Fox Business that his company’s health insurance plan covering his nine employees will be canceled.
People like Hamilton and Flynn aren’t “free-riding” on anyone. In fact, they’re being responsible. They’re choosing particular health insurance plans because the costs and benefits best fit their individual or company needs. Unfortunately Obamacare is limiting choices in health insurance coverage that have served many Americans well.
Neither Gov. Patrick nor Obamacare administrators at the Department of Health and Human Services know about the unique circumstances of every American, yet they have no problem fitting everyone’s health insurance needs into a one-size-fits-all box. It’s no wonder public opinion for the health care law continues to be underwater.
Instead of mandates and new taxes that limit choices and raise costs, we need real reforms that that allow greater flexibility and empower consumers to find a health insurance plan that is right for them. And we shouldn't be slamming people for being responsible.