After ObamaCare’s first month led to merely 26,794 “pre-effectuated enrolments” (more on what in the world that even means later), President Obama unveiled his big “fix” for the more than 5,000,000 Americans (and growing by the day) who have lost their insurance plans.
Plans they liked that they could not keep.
As pressure from Democrats, Republicans, independents, the media, and hundreds of millions of Americans mounted, President Obama held a press conference to announce a big “fix.”
Today, President Obama announced that if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it.
Wait!? Haven’t we heard that before?
President Obama broke that promise, as millions of Americans received cancelation notices – something he and his Administration knew from the beginning was coming. In fact, the Administration intentionally created the problem through administrative regulations stripping ObamaCare’s “grandfather” clause of any meaning.
How in the world could the American people possibly believe him when he said it this time?
Well, let’s let President Obama attempt to explain for himself:
Now, as I indicated earlier, I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan that they liked they could keep it. And to those Americans, I hear you loud and clear. I said that I would do everything we can to fix this problem. And today I'm offering an idea that will help do it.
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 took effect and to people who bought plans since the law took effect.
Well, there you have it. That should fix it right? Now, this time, we have it clear: if you like your plan, you can keep it.
So the 5,000,000 Americans who received cancelation notices can just rip them up and throw them away, right?
Wait … what’s that Mr. President? There’s a caveat … still?
President Obama explained:
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.
That’s right, the “fix” doesn’t fix anything.
Under a new yet-as-undisclosed regulatory scheme, insurers – who have done their due diligence for the past three and a half years preparing for these changes under ObamaCare – are now allowed to reoffer plans they were already legally required to cancel for one year (through the midterm elections), if state insurance commissioners approve those previously canceled plans, and the millions of Americans affected take action to reenroll in them.
And all of this has to happen in the next month in order to ensure that Americans who had insurance before ObamaCare still have insurance on January 1, 2014. Insurance companies would have to develop actuary tables, pricing structures, plan eligibility requirements, and coverage, get those previously canceled plans approved by state insurance commissioners, offer them to their customers, and inform their costumers that they should also go comparison shop on the Healthcare.gov website that doesn’t work – all by December 15th.
See December 15th is the cutoff under the federal exchanges to ensure that coverage starts for people on January 1st. Otherwise, there is no way to ensure that there won’t be massive lapses in insurance coverage. Millions of Americans would be faced with baby due dates, needed surgeries, or other medical issues that would go uncovered by any insurance starting January 1st and continuing until they are able to sign up for some other plan. This for American who had insurance they liked before ObamaCare came along.
President Obama was directly asked about this and whether his new “fix” could possibly work. Jeff Mason of Reuters asked what everyone in America watching this press conference was wondering, “Today's fix that you just announced leaves it up to state insurance commissioners and insurance companies to ultimately decide whether to allow those policies to be renewed for a year. How confident are you that they will do that?”
President Obama’s answer was as astonishingly arrogant and elusive as ever, “What we're essentially saying is the Affordable Care Act is not going to be the factor in what happens with folks in the individual market.”
So at the last minute before this disaster entirely imploded, President Obama stepped in and pulled his guys out of the game and put in the subs hoping they would get the blame. No one is falling for it this time.
Chuck Todd of NBC News would have none of it. He unequivocally and poignantly reported: “[T]his will do nothing to assuage those concerns. . . . There are no teeth to what was announced today by the White House . . . . Zero. None. Zilch.”
President Obama cannot use slight of hand to evade the train wreck he caused.
And this only concerns the 5 million and growing who have had their plans canceled. What about the other “40 million Americans who don't have health insurance at all”?
Only 26,794 people have “selected” a plan through Healthcare.gov. But this number isn’t what it seems. These are NOT people who have truly enrolled in ObamaCare. HHS calls the number they reported the number of “pre-effectuated enrolment.”
“Pre-effectuated enrolment” is official Orwellian Newspeak term for people who have put an insurance plan in their Healthcare.gov shopping cart. HHS explains, “Enrollment figures include those who have selected a plan and have or have not yet paid the first month’s premium.”
In fact, when you dig a little bit deeper, the 26,794 number is not the number of people who have logged on to Healthcare.gov and actually gone through the process of selecting a plan, it is the “total number of individuals for whom a Completed Application has been received and who are determined to be eligible for plan enrollment through the Marketplace” and who have then “selected a plan (with or without the first premium payment having been received directly by the Marketplace or the issuer).” So, for example, if I had logged on to Healthcare.gov selected a plan to cover my family of five, but had not yet paid anything toward my premium, I would be counted as not 1 but 5 “pre-effectuated” enrollees.
The actually number of enrollees, under the English definition of the word (i.e. people who have purchased insurance), is far smaller than 26,794.
Now, under ObamaCare, with fines, impending deadlines, canceled policies, and lapses in coverage all on the immediate horizon, how can President Obama say with a straight face that “the old individual market was not working well. And it's important that we don't pretend that somehow that's a place worth going back to”?
It’s ObamaCare that is not working well. In fact, it isn’t working at all.
If you agree, sign the petition to stand against ObamaCare at ICantEnroll.com. Already, over 71,000 Americans, more than twice the number of ObamaCare’s “pre-effectuated” enrollees, are taking a stand against the mandate.
Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.