Tag Archives: Incompetence

Does the last-minute Obamacare exemption fix anything?

One of my favorite writers on health care policy is Michael F. Cannon of the libertarian Cato Institute. He has an article in Forbes magazine that I think is a good level-set for the Obamacare changes that are happening in 2014 and beyond.

He writes:

[…]President Obama announced, just days before the deadline for purchasing coverage with a January 1 effective date, that he would offer a categorical “hardship exemption” from the individual mandate to anyone who had their insurance cancelled due to ObamaCare.

[…]If these folks choose not to buy health insurance, they will not face a penalty. They will also have the option to buy, “if it is available in your area,” the lower-cost catastrophic coverage that ObamaCare otherwise offers only to people under age 30, or who receive the separate “unaffordability” exemption from the mandate.

The obvious purpose of this policy is to give political cover to Senate Democrats who must face the voters next year, and are no doubt afraid of attack ads like this one.

[…]Yet this exemption may not be of much value to those who qualify, and is likely to create more problems for ObamaCare supporters than it solves.

The people who qualify for this exemption don’t actually want it. They want health insurance. They had affordable coverage, until ObamaCare took it away from them, and that’s what they still want now. Sebelius boasts that ObamaCare’s catastrophic plans cost 20 percent less than other ObamaCare plans, but don’t confuse that with affordable coverage. The Manhattan Institute’s Avik Roy — who is now the opinion editor for the sprawling Forbes empire – notes that ObamaCare’s catastrophic plans can still cost twice as much as what was previously available on the individual market.

But even if they like their catastrophic plan, they can’t keep it. Sebelius has complete control over the duration of the exemptions, which she has described as a “temporary” step “to smooth [consumers’] transition” to enrollment in Exchange plans. So in a matter of months, Obama will violate his “if you like your health plan” pledge again by kicking these folks out of their catastrophic plans. They will get another cancellation letter tossing them into the Exchanges. Their premiums will surge again. They may lose their doctor again.

The exemption means insurers will suffer losses this year, and rates will be higher next year, for all ObamaCare plans.

The president argued before the Supreme Court that ObamaCare’s regulatory scheme cannot work with out the individual mandate. Yet he has now exempted millions of the very people he most needs to comply with it. This exemption siphons good risks out of the Exchanges and destabilizes the risk pools for both the standard ObamaCare plans and the catastrophic plans. Participating carriers set the rates for their Exchange plans with the expectation that these folks would be purchasing bronze, silver, gold, and platinum plans through the Exchanges. But the healthiest members of this now-exempt group are the most likely to go uninsured or purchase a catastrophic plan. So Obama’s blanket exemption makes those risk pools older and sicker.

This blanket exemption also destabilizes the risk pools for the catastrophic plans. It opens those pools to lots of people over age 30, who have higher health expenses than people under age 30, and whom the insurers were not expecting to buy catastrophic plans when they set those rates.

So the effect of this is going to be to raise rates temporarily, because the insurers companies are not getting the younger, healthy people they need to make the rates as low as they originally calculated. They are going to lose a ton of money because the Democrats are changing the rules at the last minute. They people who have coverage are going to be the ones who make all the claims, and the people who normally don’t make claims are now exempt, temporarily – until the 2014 elections. This is going to be a huge hit to the health insurance companies.

As I noted before, the Democrats are going to have to bail out the insurance companies in order to account for the losses. It’s actually in the Obamacare law already, as David Freddoso explained. But will the Democrats use money from their political party to pay for their mistakes? Hell no – they will borrow it from your children, which is what they are so good at doing. There is a cost for electing incompetent people, and it’s going to continue to rise until the fools are voted out.

Health insurance companies will raise rates to comply with Obamacare delay

CNS News explains how health insurance companies will respond to the last-minute attempt by Democrats to delay the implementation of Obamacare.


After President Obama unilaterally changed his health care law on Thursday, the insurance industry issued a warning.

“Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” said Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

Here’s Ignagni’s full statement:

Making sure consumers have secure, affordable coverage is health plans’ top priority.  The only reason consumers are getting notices about their current coverage changing is because the ACA requires all policies to cover a broad range of benefits that go beyond what many people choose to purchase today.

Premiums have already been set for next year based on an assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace.  If due to these changes fewer younger and healthier people choose to purchase coverage in the exchange, premiums will increase in the marketplace and there will be fewer choices for consumers.  Additional steps must be taken to stabilize the marketplace and mitigate the adverse impact on consumers.

A recent Weekly Standard podcast predicts that the Democrats are going to come down hard on insurance companies, and blame them for the failure of Obamacare.

Obama vows to veto Republican “Keep Your Health Plan Act” bill

Face a revolt among his own party, the President decided to delay the implementation of his own failed health care policy, until after the 2014 elections. He did this to help Democrat candidates in red states to not be thrown out for enacting a policy that will cancel the health care plans of millions of Americans. After the elections, Obamacare will take effect as planned and millions of Americans will lose their health care.

The Republicans have an alternate plan – let people keep their health care plans if they like them, just as Obama promised before he was re-elected.


House Republican leaders announced Wednesday the lower chamber will vote next week on a bill that would allow people to keep their health insurance plan if they like it.

The vote hits at President Obama, who, during the debate over the Affordable Care Act, said people could keep their healthcare plans if they like them. Millions of people, however, have gotten cancelation notices because of ObamaCare’s new standards.

Late Wednesday afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced via Twitter that the bill would get a vote.

The Keep Your Health Plan Act, H.R. 3350, was introduced last week by House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and more than two dozen Republicans. As of Wednesday, co-sponsorship had grown to 88 members.

Upton’s bill authorizes insurance companies to keep offering plans that they have said need to be canceled because of ObamaCare’s new insurance standards. Since early October, companies have sent out millions of notices to enrollees saying their plans will be scrapped and, in many cases, replaced by more expensive plans.

“Despite the president’s repeated promise of ‘if you like your plan, you can keep it,’ many Americans are now learning the sad reality that their current plan will no longer exist beginning on Jan. 1,” Upton said last week. “Instead they are forced to purchase healthcare that they cannot afford through a system that does not even work, and that’s just not fair.”

The Weekly Standard reports that the Obama administration has threatened to veto the Republican “Keep Your Health Plan Act”. Why? Because the true purpose of Obamacare requires that healthy people get kicked off their plans, and that they be forced to buy more expensive plans that subsidize the treatments of less healthy people.

The chief architect of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, explained in a recent interview:

“We currently have a highly discriminatory system where if you’re sick, if you’ve been sick, if you are going to get sick, you cannot get health insurance,” Gruber told host Chuck Todd. “The only way to end that discriminatory system is to bring everyone into the system and pay one fair price. That means that the genetic winners, the lottery winners, who’ve been paying their artificially low price because of this discrimination, now will have to pay more in return. And that, by my estimate is about 4 million people. In return, we’ll have a fixed system where over 30 million people will now, for the first time, be able to access fairly priced and guaranteed health insurance.” Emphases added.

This is monstrous. Gruber admits that “If you like your healthcare, you can keep your healthcare” was a lie from the start. They never even intended to keep this promise, as doing so would destroy their scheme. The system Gruber describes is the intentional demolition of the private insurance industry, which bases prices on risk. He is also defining “discrimination” so far that given the chance, he would abolish capitalism and private property ownership itself.

That’s why Obama has to veto the bill – because he must accomplish his goal of making everyone’s life “equal” regardless of their individual choices. People who aren’t addicted to drugs must be forced to subsidize the drug addiction therapies of others. People who don’t have a promiscuous sex life must subsidize the promiscuous sex lives of others. People who don’t need abortion-inducing drugs must subsidize the abortion-inducing drugs of others. Wealth redistribution to equalize lifestyle outcomes. If you make good decisions in life, you must be punished. If you make bad decisions in life, you must be rewarded. If you earn money and save money because you have a plan of your own for marriage and family, then what you earn and save must be taken from you and given to others who earn nothing and save nothing and have no plans for marriage and family.

Not enough time to make the changes

James Pethokoukis explains that insurance companies don’t have enough time to restore the plans that Obamacare canceled. So the only real effect of Obama’s announcement is to give cover to Democrats who vote against the Keep Your Health Plan Act. That was the purpose of his press conference – to stop a revolt by people in his own party.