The President spoke Thursday and stated that he would take “administrative steps” to try and restore the 5+ million health insurance plans that have been canceled at the direction of the Affordable Care Act. However, some analysts are warning that the “fix” might actually cause still more upheaval in an already spiraling industry.
Report from McClatchyDC:
Facing growing outrage from Americans, President Barack Obama reversed course Thursday and offered to let insurance companies sell existing plans even if they don’t meet the minimum standards set by his new problem-fraught health care law.
But Obama’s much-delayed attempt to make good on his promise that Americans could keep their insurance plans if they liked them faces strong opposition from insurance companies, which warn that rates might spike, and it risks undermining the basic premise of his law, which requires quality, affordable insurance.
“We fumbled the rollout on this health care law,” a contrite Obama said in an hourlong news conference Thursday at the White House. “We should have done a better job getting that right on day one – not on day 28 or on day 40.”
The president flatly took responsibility for the slew of problems that have bedeviled his signature domestic achievement, including an error-filled website, and said he’d restore Americans’ confidence in him by fixing HealthCare.gov this month and making good on his promise to allow Americans to keep their plans. “We’re just gonna keep on chipping away at this,” he said.
The debacle threatens to swamp Obama’s entire second-term agenda, raising questions about his competency and credibility. Polls released this week show the president’s job-approval rating at a historic low and a majority of voters saying, for the first time, that he isn’t trustworthy.
The opposition isn’t just from insurance companies, who now face more unclear regulations about the products they can sell, but also bipartisan concern from state insurance commissioners:
Washington state’s insurance commissioner, Mike Kreidler, announced Thursday he won’t allow insurers to extend their policies, saying Washington’s state-based exchange was “up and running and successfully enrolling thousands of consumers.”
“We are staying the course,” said Kreidler, a Democrat who’s one of the longest-serving state insurance commissioners in the country.
The Oregon state insurance commissioner echoed the same sentiment saying his state would not abide by this administrative fix either.
The most unmentioned aspect of this has been the President’s knowledge, at least since 2010, that millions of Americans would be kicked off their existing plans. This isn’t anything new or unexpected, as witnessed in this YouTube clip from February 25, 2010, in which the President acknowledges millions will lose their plan but, as he contends, be able to find a better option in the Obamacare exchanges.
Ultimately, the success of Obamacare depends on cancelling existing plans and replacing them with plans that collect higher premiums from generally healthy people to offset costs such as covering pre-existing conditions and lowering premium payments for the sick and elderly. If that can no longer be accomplished by rolling customers into new plans, the mathematical fate of the law hangs in the balance.
In short, Obamacare is one big equation where “x”, at the end of the day, has to equal “y”. Delaying the cancellations means the math no longer adds up for the new benefits under the law. Just another day in Washington, DC.