Author Topic: Retreat: Obama Admin May Extend Plans Canceled by Obamacare for 3 Years  (Read 293 times)

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http://www.mediaite.com/online/retreat-obama-admin-may-extend-plans-canceled-by-obamacare-for-3-years/

Retreat: Obama Admin May Extend Plans Canceled by Obamacare for 3 Years
by Noah Rothman | 4:20 pm, February 6th, 2014

This is either a glaring admission of defeat from the White House or… no, that’s really all it could be.

After weeks of defending the cancellation of health plans insurers discontinued in 2013 in order to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s coverage mandates, the White House announced in November of last year that it was urging insurers to reinstate those plans. The catch was, of course, that most insurers would be unable to turn on a dime and reinstate those plans. Furthermore, the administration allowed individual states leeway to determine whether or not they would even allow insurers to reinstate those cancelled plans.

President Barack Obama’s maneuver was more of a political solution than a policy fix, and a temporary one at that. But that appears to be changing.

“Avalere Health CEO Dan Mendelson said Thursday that the administration may let policyholders keep that coverage for an additional three years,” the AP reported on Thursday.

While Mendelson apparently stressed that “no decision has been made” and that this suggestion arose as the result of “informal discussions” with the administration, this is merely the latest float that should terrify insurers who are increasingly on the hook for the added costs associated with covering the sick and infirmed without being able to compensate for those losses with additional revenues from the healthy.



The AP confirmed that this bombshell did not merely arise from Mendelson falling to accurately relate his conversation with Obama administration officials. Aetna Chief Financial Officer Shawn Guertin confirmed that he was also aware that the White House was considering a three year reprieve for those who lost their plans as a result of the ACA.

This AP report also includes an oblique reference to the ever-looming spiral of death, in which insurers are forced to boost premium rates to a point that forces more healthy people off of the exchanges – a self-perpetuating cycle.

“Now the administration is considering adding more years to this extension to avoid another wave of problems if rates on the exchange climb too high and people are left without an affordable coverage option,” the AP writes. “Health insurers are supposed to submit by May the rates they want to charge on the exchanges next year.”

If the White House pulls the trigger on this, they may mitigate the damage the ACA is doing to the Democrats’ political brand. Perhaps they will even be able to save the Senate majority. But the stability of the ACA will be imperiled, the sense of permanence surrounding the law will be greatly reduced, and the likelihood that the law will be vulnerable to repeal when Obama leaves the White House will increase.

If you like your plan, it just might turn out that you really can keep it.

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Offline PzLdr

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Re: Retreat: Obama Admin May Extend Plans Canceled by Obamacare for 3 Years
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 09:55:43 AM »
And how does the great one do that? Those plans, as I understand it, were contracts between private entities, i.e policy holders and Insurance companies. 
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Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Retreat: Obama Admin May Extend Plans Canceled by Obamacare for 3 Years
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 03:14:21 PM »
And how does the great one do that? Those plans, as I understand it, were contracts between private entities, i.e policy holders and Insurance companies.

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Offline Oceander

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Re: Retreat: Obama Admin May Extend Plans Canceled by Obamacare for 3 Years
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2014, 08:50:17 PM »
And how does the great one do that? Those plans, as I understand it, were contracts between private entities, i.e policy holders and Insurance companies. 

The law was that the insurance companies could no longer enter into certain types of contracts with individuals seeking insurance, and that existing contracts that failed to meet those criteria must be cancelled - in accordance with the policy's terms (which usually give the insurer that right at almost any time) - and the policy-holder could then choose from one of the democrat-approved policies.

Now, apparently, the law has been unilaterally modified to give insurance companies permission to continue offering the illegal plans for the next 3 years, but only to those individuals who had such a contract in existence with the insurance company at the time it was originally cancelled as required by law.

This is going too far; executive discretion does not extend so far as to allow the president to waive the application of an enacted law for such a long period of time; it might have been reasonable to allow some leeway as a matter of executive discretion during the rollout phase - but only during that period - after which all policies must be in compliance and noncompliant policies cancelled, but for three years after the regulations have been written and the rollout of the permanent new scheme accomplished?  No, that's a bridge too far.

Here's what should happen next:  people who aren't eligible to get a nonconforming plan for the next three years because they didn't have a noncompliant plan in force on the day those policies were originally supposed to be cancelled should sue - we're talking about a multi-million member class action suit - on the basis that the administration's actions are arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, not the least because there hasn't been any public comment period during which the public could openly and fairly comment on this new regulation - because it is a de facto regulation, not just a single discretionary act.


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