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A “Contrite” President Obama Unveils questionable plan to “fix” ObamaCare

by | Nov 14, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

In one, very unintentionally funny sentence, the New York Times reported this afternoon that “Some details of the plan still must be worked out.”

The “plan” was announced this morning by what the Times characterized as a “contrite” President Obama.

“President Obama bowed to mounting political pressure from across the country and on Capitol Hill on Thursday, announcing new rules that will let insurance companies keep people on health care plans that would not have been allowed under the Affordable Care Act,” according to the Times’ Ashley Parker, Michael D. Shear, and Robert Pear.

The Washington Post led its coverage with this paragraph that included an important additional fact: “President Obama announced Thursday an administrative change in one of the bedrock ideas of the new health-care law, allowing insurers to continue offering individual insurance plans for another year even if they do not comply with the law’s rules for minimum benefits.”

That has a reassuring ring to it. But as Daniel Halper points out, “The president is not proposing that the law be changed to allow all health insurance plans [to be] grandfathered into Obamacare’s eligibility requirements.”

Instead the President will use what’s being called “enforcement discretion” to (in Halper’s words) “allow illegal health insurance plans to be able to still be sold. That is, the Obama administration will not enforce the penalty on individuals for not having eligible health insurance plans and they’ll allow the insurance companies to still sell so-called bad plans — plans they technically can’t sell under ObamaCare.”

In other words people who are already signed up for pre-ObamaCare plans will (for the moment) be allowed to keep buying them. By administrative fiat.

It gets better, so to speak.

First, an important side note. President Obama has repeatedly been burnt about his assurances the Healthgov.org website will be up and running smoothly soon. He was asked by reporters if the website would be fully fixed, as previously stated, by the end of the month.

He responded, “[T]he Web site will work much better than it did” October 1. Obama added, “On November 30th, it will be a lot better. But there will still be some problems.”

However there are limitations to waving magic wands and “fixing” a system that has stumbled out of the gate badly and which is mind-boggingly complex. The headline to a story written by the Post’s Sarah Kliff was telling: “The White House’s Obamacare fix is about to create a big mess.”

As somebody pointed out on the radio this morning, whereas it appears the Obama Administration has done very little planning in anticipation of ObamaCare, the insurance industry, by necessity, has done plenty.

Kliff writes

“For insurance regulators and health insurance carriers, though, this supposed glide path is about to create a whole bunch of headaches. They have been expecting, for years now, that these insurance plans would be phased out of the market in 2014 — and have planned accordingly.”

She then quotes from a note sent by Robert Laszewksi, an insurance consultant, to clients earlier this morning:

“This means that the insurance companies have 32 days to reprogram their computer systems for policies, rates, and eligibility, send notices to the policyholders via US Mail, send a very complex letter that describes just what the differences are between specific policies and Obamacare compliant plans, ask the consumer for their decision — and give them a reasonable time to make that decision — and then enter those decisions back into their systems without creating massive billing, claim payment, and provider eligibility list mistakes.”

To which Kliff adds, “All by January 1.”

But perhaps the most telling comment of all came near the end of the Times’ story:

“The White House had hoped that expressions of regret by Mr. Obama in an interview last week would have addressed the public anger about those who were being forced off their health care plans because of the law.”

Millions of people are losing the health insurance they wanted, rates and premiums and deductibles are going through the roof, and a simple quasi-apology is suppose to “address the public anger.”

Wow! That is arrogant even by the President’s standards.

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Categories: ObamaCare
Tags: ObamaCare