Facing a rebellion by congressional Democrats panic-stricken over the public reaction to the wave of insurance cancellations, President Obama has just announced “Okay, okay. I’ll give you all another year:”
President Obama will announce at a news conference on Thursday morning that he supports a plan allowing people to keep their existing healthcare plans for a period of one year, according to senior White House officials and multiple reports. It will not be a legislative change; rather, it would be enforced under the Department of Health and Human Services’ existing power.
A power he doesn’t have under the law, just as he had no power to delay the employer-mandate. But, as the head of the progressive-administrative, liberal fascist state, playing “El Presidente” rather than “President of the United States,” the idea that under the Constitution he has to wait for Congress to rewrite the law doesn’t occur to him. But it does make Nancy Pelosi happy.
Back to Obama Saves The Day:
The predicted announcement is a response to complaints that Obama had broken his frequently-repeated campaign promise that people could keep their existing healthcare plans if they liked them. As Obamacare began to roll out last month, a number of people received notices from their insurers that their policies would have to change. This was largely because their existing plans didn’t meet the baseline standard mandated under the Affordable Care Act. That baseline includes policy components meant to ensure that, on the whole, participants can afford plans and not be burdened with excessive deductibles in the event that they need to get treatment.
This paragraph is rife with spin on The Atlantic’s part; grandfathered plans are being canceled because HHS wrote the regulations in such a manner to ensure most policies would lose their grandfathered status for the least change, such as a minor premium increase. And the idea of preventing the insured from being “burdened with excessive deductibles” will be news to those facing just that, thanks to the ACA.
But that’s a distraction. The key here is that this is all for show; it’s meant to slow the growing avalanche of Democrats jumping-ship to support either the Upton or Landrieu bills. And, by saying the insurance companies have the option to extend policies, it’s a naked attempt to shift the blame from the White House and the Democrats to the insurance companies and the state insurance commissioners. As John Harwood of CNBC and the NYT reported on Twitter:
In fact, this will hasten the Obamacare death-spiral, as the Upton and Landrieu bills would, by giving the young and healthy permission not to join the Obamacare risk-pools and skewing those pools too heavily toward the elderly and those with chronic illnesses. As Politico Breaking News just reported (h/t ST via email):
The Obama administration’s administrative fix to the health plan cancellation problem “could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said in a statement today. The insurance trade group said more steps would be needed to prevent harm to consumers.
“Premiums have already been set for next year based on an assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace,” Ignagni, America’s Health Insurance Plans’ president and CEO, said. “If now fewer younger and healthier people choose to purchase coverage in the exchange, premiums will increase and there will be fewer choices for consumers. Additional steps must be taken to stabilize the marketplace and mitigate the adverse impact on consumers.”
She did not say what those steps would be.
So it’s no more than theater, a grand gesture meant to cover their rears and look good while shifting the blame to someone else. But what about the problems this move creates? “We’ll deal with those mañana.”
From somewhere in a very warm place, Juan Peron and Hugo Chavez nod in approval.
PS: As I write this, The Lightworker is holding a press conference that, from what I’m seeing on Twitter, is an epic disaster. Can’t wait to see the video and transcripts this evening.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)