Obama Changes His Mind (But Only For a Year); You Can Keep Your Plan IF Insurer Reinstates It; Democrats Revolt; Four Questions
With pressure from Democrats, Obama has relented. He again says you can keep your plan. This time he really means it, but only for a year, and only if the insurer is willing to bring the plan back.
Politico has the details in Obamacare Fix: Keep Plans
President Barack Obama offered a proposal Thursday aimed at making it easier for Americans whose health insurance plans were slated to be cancelled at the end of the year keep the same coverage through 2014.Democrats Revolt
Obama’s announcement is an attempt to head off a mounting push from moderate and red state Democrats who are threatening to attempt an end-around the White House on health care. It’s also a response to the reaction to his repeated claims that people would be allowed to keep their current health care plans.
“I completely get how upsetting this can be for Americans … I hear you loud and clear,” Obama said in the White House briefing room, before laying out his proposal, which allows insurers to “extend plans that would otherwise cancelled into 2014.”
Facing a growing rebellion from members of his own party, Obama chose to put the onus back on insurance companies by encouraging them to reinstate plans that they had already told customers they planned to cancel heading into 2014.
Insurers can re-enroll only those whose plans were slated to be cancelled, and not take in new customers, as Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has proposed in a bill slated for a Friday floor vote.
Insurers, meanwhile, will be informed that they have the option of choosing to reach out to consumers whose plans have been cancelled and offer to provide them for an additional year. Risk pools would be adjusted to offset the change.
Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) have introduced bills that would allow people to keep their health plans if insurers cancel them — an attempt to codify a repeated vow of Obama’s that “if you like your health care, you can keep it” under Obamacare.
The administration is also seeking to prevent a swell of Democratic defections when the House votes Friday on the Upton bill, which House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has acknowledged is a step toward repealing the ACA. “The only way to fully protect the American people is to scrap this law once and for all. There’s no way to fix this,” Boehner said just before Obama spoke, as details of the president’s fix were widely reported. ”I’m highly skeptical they can do this administratively.”
Some Democrats indicated Thursday that they aren’t on board with an administrative fix and are insisting that any changes must be done through legislation.
At a closed-door caucus meeting, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) said he would support a GOP bill on the cancellations Friday.
“I am beginning to think members of the administration haven’t read the bill,” Pascrell said, according to a source in the room. “I am voting for Upton tomorrow.” Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) expressed similar sentiments.
The revolt, by Democrats, shows just how badly house speaker John Boehner blew it during the budget negotiations.
Common sense shows all Republicans had to do was sit back and wait for Democrats to bitch about Obamacare problems.
In the House, it will be interesting to see how many Democrats vote for the Upton provision allowing insurers to offer allegedly substandard programs to new customers.
And in the Senate, things look even worse for Obama. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) introduced plans that would let people keep their plans even IF insurers cancel them.
My first set of questions are simple: How the hell is that going to work? Is government going to take over every existing plan that was dropped?
Still More Questions
While pondering the above questions, I have a few more to throw at you, this time assuming Obama gets his fix and "you can keep your plan" but only for a year, and only if the insurer reinstates it.
Will insurers bother?
For a year?
What incentives do they have?
Has anyone (on either side of the aisle) thought about how their alleged fix was going to work in real life?
What constitutional right does Obama have to unilaterally change the law of the land, even if it's "only" for a year?
Mike "Mish" Shedlock