Will Obama compel insurance companies to re-offer old plans?
There is more than one way to skin cats and bankrupt private insurance companies.
That President Obama lied when he guaranteed Americans they could keep insurance policies they liked is a metaphysical certitude. What is near supernatural is just how many ways he lied. From James Taranto, WSJ’s Best of the Web:
Some of the canceled plans–the ones [Barack] Obama now categorically describes (dishonestly) as “subpar” [see Obama non-apology video below]–had to be canceled because the Health and Human Services Department narrowly construed the “grandfather” clause, forbidding the renewal of any plan that is not compliant with every ObamaCare mandate if it was changed in the slightest–even just a small adjustment of copayments–after the enactment of the law.
HHS presumably could revisit that regulatory interpretation so as to permit insurance companies to continue offering those plans. But the government has no legal authority tocompel insurance companies to do so. Congress could pass legislation to that effect, but that would surely provoke litigation from insurance companies, which would have a reasonable argument that imposing a new mandate fast on the heels of a contrary one is so capricious as to constitute a violation of due process.
Some insurance cancellations have been the result not of ObamaCare mandates directly but of business decisions made by insurance companies, or of regulatory decisions at the state level. ObamaCare defenders argue that it is unreasonable to hold the president accountable for those. This column strongly disagrees. Insurance companies and state regulators are making their decisions within the regulatory environment created by ObamaCare’s “comprehensive” reform; cancellations that result indirectly from that reform are as much a failure to keep the president’s promise as those mandated by it.
Further, Obama is accountable even for cancellations that cannot be laid directly to ObamaCare’s mandates or indirectly to its incentives. He did not qualify his promise “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” It was a blanket assurance that policyholders would be protected from cancellations. For Obama and the law’s supporters in Congress to have made good on his promise, they would have had to include a mandate that insurers offer all existing policyholders the option to continue their plans. At this point, there is no way to restore the canceled plans unless all the insurance companies cooperate.
ObamaCare defenders have tried to shift blame onto insurance companies. Although they are wrong to do so, insurance companies do deserve a share of the blame, for ObamaCare is in part a payoff to them. What other industry has the benefit of a federal law mandating (or at least purporting to mandate) that Americans purchase its products?
President Bill Clinton’s Reno Justice Department, in the middle of the ongoing Reagan Recovery, ordered banks and other mortgage lenders to make home loans to low-income borrowers (or be penalized as racists or heartless) who couldn’t afford the debt service. But to make their government-run housing market-intervention more palatable, HUD authorized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy or guarantee most of the sub-prime loans. The result was a bubble followed by the best, Great Recession and ongoing anemic so-called “recovery”, with the latter made so by failed Obamanomics, which included the anticipation of Obamacare mandates.
Now, Obama’s HHS, with the economy mired in a five year-long jobs recession, mandates that all insurance policies, issued since the Affordable care Act was signed into law on the day before April Fool’s Day, 2010, cover preexisting conditions, adult “children” under the age of 27 on their parents’ policies, contraception, and all sorts of medical procedures it deems “standard”. But to make those mandates supposedly more palatable, uninsured Americans are mandated to buy their “improved” product. Sadly, words on paper passed by Congress can’t produce squeezed-turnip blood, suspend the laws of gravity nor put premium payments in the under-employed’s wallets.
This time there will be no bubble. Just the ongoing bust with insurance companies joining in sans any bailout so that we can all move on to the government-run socialized system that has been the dream of Obama and all other liberal Democrat progressives since Hillary, LBJ, HST, FDR and Woodrow Wilson.
Adding another layer of mandated grandfather policies only hastens the day, whether the new-new law is passed by Congress or issued via executive fiat. And if America is to have a chance to eventually correct the ongoing disaster in health care and insurance it had better be the latter lest Republicans be co-opted into a “fix” that is anything but. The GOP must only agree to full or partial repeals with free market replacements in this tea partier conservatives not-so-humble opinion.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson