Morning Action: Tired of Being “Manhandled” by “Exercise in Government Arrogance”
MANHANDLED. The Chicago Tribune articulates pretty well what most Americans are feeling after President Obama announced his Obamcare “fix” Thursday, which they say will be yet “one more mess for state governments, insurers and … American citizens”:
The Americans manhandled by this exercise in government arrogance now find themselves divided into warring tribes: Those with chronic ailments who have found new plans on Obamacare exchanges and are pleased. Those who don’t want or can’t afford the replacement policies Obamacare offers them. Those whose new policies block them from using the health providers who have treated them for many years. The estimated 23 million to 41 million people whose employer-sponsored plans are the next to be imperiled. And on and on.
Most of these tribespeople only wish their big problem was a slipshod Obamacare website. On Thursday, their plight grew more frightful. With even Democratic members of Congress storming the White House over the cancellations, Obama declared — by what legal authority is unclear — that he would overrule the law he signed in 2010 and allow insurers to extend those canceled policies for a year.
If, that is, insurance regulators of the 50 states permit this potential distortion to risk pools inside and outside of Obamacare. The regulators, including those in Illinois, had better put protection ahead of politics: Within two hours of Obama’s announcement, Mike Kreidler, insurance commissioner of Washington, a Democrat-leaning state, rejected the president’s notion, citing “its potential impact on the overall stability of our health insurance market. … We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies.”
BAILOUT. The Heritage Foundation explains this amounts to another bailout – this time for insurance companies:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today released guidance to state insurance commissioners implementing President Obama’s “fix” for people losing their insurance. Not only does it violate the explicit text of Obamacare itself, but it also raises the possibility of insurers getting access to a new pool of bailout funds.
TRUST. President Obama and his administration have given America no reason to trust them. The Heritage Foundation explains why his latest “promise” shouldn’t be trusted either:
The “fix” is another Obama attempt to go outside the law and around Congress. But even the President can’t just un-cancel people’s insurance plans.
Insurance commissioners in several states have already said no, we can’t change the rules again and allow companies to un-cancel plans in our states. Two warnings from insurance officials:
Disrupting the market even further. “I have serious concerns about how President Obama’s proposal would be implemented and more significantly, its potential impact on the overall stability of our health insurance market,” said Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. He announced that “We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies.”
Hurting consumers. “Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of [Obamacare] could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” said Karen Ignagni, CEO of insurance trade association America’s Health Insurance Plans.
YOUNG PEOPLE. An in sufficient number of young people entering the Obamacare exchanges has long been a concern for liberals and a warning from conservatives; without them, Obamacare premiums skyrocket, because only older, sicker individuals purchase Obamacare plans. AP reports this very phenomenon is likely occurring currently:
The insurance industry has increasing cause for concern as early enrollment reports suggest a trend that could cause insurance premiums and deductibles to rise sharply next year. Along with the paltry enrollment numbers released this week, officials in a handful of states said those who had managed to sign up were generally older people with medical problems.
Insurers have warned that they need a wide range of people signing up for coverage because premiums paid by adults in the younger and healthier group, between 18 and 35, are needed to offset the cost of carrying older and sicker customers who typically generate far more in medical bills than they contribute in premiums.
The first set of enrollment data revealed that 106,000 people signed up for coverage nationwide, far short of the 500,000 initial sign-ups the Obama administration had expected. In states where officials discussed more detailed information, it also became apparent that the people who flocked to the exchanges after they opened Oct. 1 were those who were desperate for coverage.
DEMOCRATS. Democrats’ fears and anxieties about the effect of the botched Obamacare rollout on their reelection prospects are increasingly evident:
Democratic candidates in tough races are calling for a fix to the health care law to allow Americans to keep their current insurance plans, reflecting the grim political reality facing the party following the botched rollout of the law.
Many Democrats are laying low and most are avoiding outright endorsement of congressional proposals to address the insurance plan controversy, put forward by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) in the House and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in the Senate.
Of the 31 Democratic candidates contacted by The Hill on the issue, only eight responded with comments on the law, and only one was available for an interview.
All who spoke struck the same tone: The law’s rollout and dropped coverage is a big problem, and President Obama’s on the hook to fix it.