Waaaaaaaay Too Late, And I Bet Obama Knows It

Via the WSJ:

President Barack Obama said Thursday that insurers will be able to continue health-insurance coverage next year for current policy holders that otherwise would be canceled under the new health-care law....

"Insurers can offer consumers the option to renew their 2013 health plans in 2014 without change, allowing these individuals to keep their plans," a senior White House official said, previewing Mr. Obama's announcement. These consumers will be given the opportunity to re-enroll, the official said, essentially extending the so-called grandfather clause in the 2010 health overhaul that allowed people to keep their plans if they were in place before the law passed.

"This step today is in the interest of fixing some of the challenges that have arisen" since then, the official said.

Under the plan, insurers are required to notify consumers whether their renewed plans don't include coverage that was required under the new health law, which set minimum coverage standards. They must tell consumers that new insurance options and possibly tax subsidies may be available for policies bought through online federal marketplace.

1.  The President announced this today to try to head off Congressional legislation to do the same thing.  Have we just given up on the rule of law?  Can the President unilaterally modify any law he pleases?  Shouldn't a modification in existing legislation have to come from the Legislature?  Can we just make it official and change the Constitution to say that the President can alter any legislation he wants as long as his party originally passed it?

2.  How is this even going to be possible?   My understanding is that insurance companies spend months preparing the pricing and features of their products for the next year.  The have done no preparation to offer these plans in 2014, because, you know, they were (and still are, whatever the President says in a news conference) illegal.   Its like your wife telling you to take the next exit when you are in the left lane driving 75 miles an hour in heavy traffic and the exit is about 100 yards away.  With 31 business days between now and the new year, how are they supposed to do this?  Or are they even expected to be able to do so?  Is this the President's way to blame shift to insurance companies?



  1. Another_Brian:

    "Is this the President's way to blame shift to insurance companies?"

    That's exactly what it is. Now when people don't get their old plans back, or when the premiums for those plans are not what they had before, or when they get cancelled again midway through 2014 because they're still illegal, it will be the fault of the insurance companies. The same way the "rising cost of medical care" is the fault of insurance companies who are required by legislation to offer plans that cover maternity care, prescriptions, and non-emergency doctor visits.

  2. Chris:

    You're under the mistaken impression that zerocare was supposed to ever work to begin with. zerocare is just another step towards single payer anyway.

  3. MNHawk:

    "Is this the President's way to blame shift to insurance companies?"

    Yes. Pure posing.

  4. mesaeconoguy:

    Pure electioneering – the DNC read Obungle the riot act, and this is how he caves.

    Mechanically, I do not believe it is as easy as letting people go back to their previous policies which no longer exist.

    Yes, this is the final blow to the rule of law. This law never had legal legitimacy anyway.

    Note to Health Insurance Cos: You are on notice right now that if you continue to play ball with this neofascist president/political party, you will cease to exist within 5 years, probably within 3.

    You should probably take this opportunity to re-think your strategy.

  5. mesaeconoguy:

    Obama is now a documented liar, and the question arises, is his fraudulent misrepresentation impeachable?

    Lawlessness: what this morning’s Obamacare announcement means


  6. mlhouse:

    It is utter comedy.

    Plus, just one month ago, ObamaCare was the immutable "LAW OF THE LAND". Now, Barrack Obama is changing the law in a very unconstitutional manner for the 2nd time.

    Here is the Republican's game plan for 2014.

    1. The Democrats thought that the Individual Mandate was proceding just swimmingly. Then reality hit. Millions were cancelled from plans the President claimed they could keep. Premiums skyrocketed. The incompentent government that wants to run your health care could not even get a website to work.

    2. And that is the piece they though was WORKING. Obama, even when given a chance by the GOP in the shutdown drama, refused to consider even a delay in the individual mandate. WHAT ABOUT THE EMPLOYER MANDATE THAT EVEN THESE NINCOMPOOPS ADMITTED NEEDED TO BE DELAYED.

    3. The individual mandate problems we are having are just the tip of the iceberg folks. The employer mandate is even worse. That is why they delayed it. HUGE COST INCREASES. Hours and jobs lost. Insurance plans cancelled because of a compliance issues that Obama thinks he can change on a FN whim. Insurance plans discontinued because your employer can no longer afford them and maintain your employment.

    4. AND WHERE DO YOU FN HAVE TO GO???? Why to the idiot's website that could not handle the 5% burden that was placed on it and the insane costs and mandates you have to pay for that you don't need.

    SAD, SAD, SAD.

  7. mlhouse:

    I think a legal argument could be made for impeachment. The admitted non-enforcement of the individual mandate, the admitted non-enforcement of illegal immigration, and the extra-constitutional delay of the employer mandate are all technically impeachable offenses.

    However, impeachment, despite all of its trappings, is not a legal process. It is a political one. The burden of proof for the manuever is very high and it does not exist right now. Such a tactic cannot even be appealing because it really changes nothing. The best course is to hammer the Democrats on the issues, get control of the Senate and keep control of the House, and force Obama to veto changes to the law that will kill ObamaCare without its full repeal.

    If the GOP does this smartly while offering some needed reforms I think it will be very, very successful.

  8. mesaeconoguy:

    Yep, 100% agreed. There is no political will for impeachment right now (that could change, but not likely), but the sheer stupidity and gross negligence of this entire failed rollout process should be used to gain maximum leverage by Repugs.

  9. mlhouse:

    I think it also saves them on the shutdown issue. It can easily be played as "THIS IS WHY WE WERE SO STUBBORN ABOUT THIS ISSUE". We knew it was a disaster. Our principles told us we need to avoid the disaster even if such a disaster would gain us political points.

  10. mlhouse:

    As far as the insurance companies go, if you ran a similar business would you trust this guy's word? He is not changing the law, just promising that he will not enforce it. No way I touch that with a ten foot pole because if it is politically expedient he will break his promise and there you are sitting there breaking the law. You aren't some individual that faces a non-enforcable fine. You are a business with significant assets that is regulated by the government that is now "looking the other way".......

    Only a novice would make such a policy proposal. It is unrealistic and frankly, it is illegal. LAW OF THE LAND AND ALL.....

  11. mesaeconoguy:

    The whole reason Obungle caved was the Congressional Dems saw their 9 pt. generic ballot lead evaporate.

    Once people understand that the process cannot be stopped, Repugs should have the upper hand, if they don’t do anything stupid (unlikely), and may even stand to outperform the 2010 midterm results.

  12. mlhouse:

    Yeah, as a loyal Republican (RINO to most), the odds of them not doing something stupid is unlikely. In the past two election cycles they have thrown away at least 5 US Senate seats (CO, IN, MO, DE, NV (Harry Reid's)) by nominating idealogical social conservatives instead of more moderate candidates that would have easily won. My guess is that there will be similar problems in 2014 on the US Senate level.

    I believe they will pick up seats in the House in 2014.

  13. mesaeconoguy:

    Which begs the question, what should they do?

    Should they sue the federal government? Maybe that's the lawsuit which breaks the back of this thing, when even the highly suspect SC can't condone arbitrary and capricious application of law.

    I sure as hell wouldn’t play any more ball with this administration, or anyone near it. I may even reach out exclusively to the opposition party for a little help, not that they can do much.

  14. roxpublius:

    or, even if the gov't doesn't choose to enforce it, can't some individual buy such a plan and then sue the insurer under the (still enacted) ACA for not providing minimum coverage?

  15. Ed Stevens:

    Amen, and amen. Obamacare was never intended nor expected to work as currently structured - especially by the people that concocted it - it has always been the set-up for what is to come - single payor healthcare, or, to use its real name, socialized medicine. Next will come the announcement that its bail-out time for the insurance companies, then the inevitable (and irrevocable) move to total gubmint control of health care.

  16. Sol:

    One thing I've not seen anyone mention with this yet: assuming the insurance companies somehow can still offer the old policies, isn't everyone going to do their best to choose the policy which is worse for the insurance company? We lost our old policy and now have a new one, The switch meant we lost coverage in some areas and gained it in others, but our best guess is we came out slight winners because of the switch -- several areas where we reasonably expect to have medical expenses have better coverage under the new policy. There's no way we'd voluntarily switch back.

  17. sean2829:

    "This is a joke - doesn't change anything but allow WH to blame insurance companies". Reminds me of my favorite description of how a bureaucracy runs, "A Buck Passed Is A Buck Well Spent".

  18. mesocyclone:

    Unfortunately, Presidents have been getting a way with this for awhile.

    It would be fun if the next Republican president decided to, say, not enforce environmental laws, the way Obama decided not to enforce the ACA, and immigration laws.

    I suspect we would suddenly hear a lot of "respect" for the separation of powers from the left.