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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

Some insurers may extend existing policies until after 2014 elections.

Well, we had to pass the bill before w… oh, never bloody mind.

At issue is a little-known loophole in President Obama’s landmark legislation that enables health insurers to extend existing policies for nearly all of 2014. This runs contrary to the widespread belief that all health insurance must immediately comply with new federal rules starting Jan. 1, when most provisions of the law take effect.

“Insurers are onto this, and the big question is how many will try to game the system,” said Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, a law professor and health policy expert at Washington and Lee University.

‘Loophole’ being defined creatively here, of course. As is ‘game the system.’ Or perhaps not: if Obamacare teaches us anything, it’s that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are ear-bleedingly bad when it comes to constructing legislation. There could be a clause in there that mandates that every child in America gets a pretty, pretty pony to sacrifice to Cthulhu in 2017 and we’d never know until a bureaucrat happens across the relevant clause.

To summarize the situation: lots of people (15 million or so) buy their own insurance, and as it stands they are going to be in a really bad situation next year when the new policies come out. California is forecasting a 30% increase in average rates for (I believe) self-insured state residents; and that’s just the average. What’s happening here in response is that some states and groups are recommending that insurers minimize the sticker shock by extending existing policies until up to the end of this year, then using the quote-unquote ‘loophole’ to renew the existing policies until the end of 2014.

Now, at this point you’re probably wondering Won’t that just delay the pain until 2015? …Yup! Which may be precisely why Arkansas (the example used by the LA Times) is doing that; while Mike Beebe (D) himself is term limited, presumably he does not hate the Arkansas Democratic party. Having a non-incumbent Democratic candidate try to explain why people’s insurance rates are going up when that nice Barack Obama fellow (who they didn’t vote for) said that that wouldn’t happen seems… cruel, somehow. In a ‘clubbing baby harp seals’ sort of way.

(H/T: Hot Air Headlines)

Moe Lane

PS: This situation may come up again. It will be the impulse of any Democrat focused on the 2016 elections to prevent the extension of renewals: the sooner that they can start recovering from the hit, the better. It will be the impulse of any Democrat focused on the 2014 elections to encourage the extension of renewals: as it stands they’re going to have sticker shock show up at a bad spot on the election cycle. Well, bad for them: the Republican party knew that Obamacare was a bad idea from the start. That’s why none of us voted for the stupid thing.

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