The “Fix” That Fixed Nothing
Since Nixon’s “I am not a crook ” speech during a news conference, the fortieth anniversary of which will be this Sunday, I have never seen a more bizarre Presidential performance than that given by Obama yesterday. In response to overwhelming alarm by Democrats in Congress to the fact that millions of Americans are seeing their insurance policies being cancelled due to ObamaCare, Obama at a news conference on November 14 announced the following:
Already people who have plans that pre-date the Affordable Care Act can keep those plans if they haven’t changed. That was already in the law. That’s what’s called a grandfather clause that was included in the law. Today we’re going to extend that principle both to people whose plans have changed since the law too effect and to people who bought plans since the law took effect.
So state insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can’t be sold in their states, but the bottom line is insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be cancelled into 2014. And Americans whose plans have been cancelled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan.
We’re also requiring insurers to extend current plans to inform their customers about two things: One, that protections — what protections these renewed plans don’t include. Number two, that the marketplace offers new options with better coverage and tax credits that might help you bring down the cost.
So if your received one of these letters I’d encourage you to take a look at the marketplace. Even if the website isn’t working as smoothly as it should be for everybody yet, the plan comparison tool that lets you browse cost for new plans near you is working just fine.
Well, what is wrong with this? The glib answer is everything:
First, it is by no means clear that he has the power to do any of this. The requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) allow for none of this and Obama’s job title is President not Emperor.
Second, some state insurance commissioners will not allow this to be done. The state insurance commissioner in Washington has already spoken up and said Obama’s policy would lead to great instability in the insurance markets of Washington and Obama’s suggestion is a dead letter in Washington.
Third, the insurance companies have responded and stated that it is impossible for them to comply with the time lines of the Affordable Care Act and do what Obama has said.
Fourth, it is only for one year, so people facing cancellation of insurance policies they like, even if their insurance company offers the same policy, would be facing the same dilemma in a year.
Obama of course did this not as a serious policy move but to give political cover to Dems in Congress. This proposal sums up Obama’s entire Presidency, indeed his entire career, all form and no substance. The problem for Obama is that the terrible harm he has done, and is doing, to the health insurance of Americans, is entirely a substantive problem and not one “fixable” with style. Even as a political measure yesterday’s news conference was a disaster.
People dim enough to believe Obama will quickly find out that, no, they are not getting their old policies back. This proposal does nothing to deal with the looming disaster next year when employer provided insurance will come under the aegis of the Affordable Care Act and tens of millions of Americans who get their insurance through employment will suddenly find their employers cancelling their insurance or seeing their employee contributions to health insurance going through the roof. Insurance companies now see that Obama’s main goal is to throw them under the bus and blame them for ObamaCare, so they have every incentive to begin lobbying now for the repeal of this monstrosity. The reaction to the news conference thus far indicates that this will provide no cover for the Dems and that the drumbeat to repeal ObamaCare will begin growing like Topsy.
Obama yesterday entered the lame duck stage of his Presidency. Whatever this country does or does not do for the remainder of his term, Obama is going to be largely irrelevant. Democrats in Congress and Democrats around the nation are learning what Republicans have always known: Obama is a man of no substance, not to be trusted, who has not a clue as to how to carry out the duties effectively of the office he holds. Gross incompetence may not be grounds for impeachment, especially with Joe Biden a heartbeat away, but it is grounds for being merely a figurehead, and that is what we have as President.