November 18, 2013

Obama himself makes best argument for single-payer

Although he will certainly deny it, his Thursday announcement that insurers can wait one year to cancel low-grade plans has, to some degree, thrown health insurers under the bus. Nonetheless, as the ACA was written at the behest of America's Health Insurance Plans, their lobbying arm, they have little room to grumble.

It also throws his own Obamacare under the bus, with the stipulations insurers have a couple of hurdles to meet if they want to do this:
The temporary fix allows insurers — if they so choose — to reinstate canceled individual policies for a year or two instead of having them expire at the end of 2013. They can extend the policies only if they first take two crucial steps — inform the policyholders of all the consumer protections their current policies lack (like yearly limits on a patient’s out-of-pocket expenses), and make them aware of their options to buy better policies in the exchanges, often with the help of federal subsidies. This option would apply only to people who have had their current policies canceled. It does not apply to others who might want to buy similar plans. 

In other words, Obama is admitting Obamacare inadequately regulates insurers. And, because his Band-Aid only applies where people have already had plans cancelled, he admits that won't change.

But, that's OK, because, now, as of Nov. 18, Obama is considering letting people sign up for Obamacare directly via insurance companies, which is an obvious indication that will NOT be fixed by Nov. 30. (And Megan McArdle claims this is breaking the law.)

But, the insurers are saying even this introduces more instability and confusion into the market. That said, they should like that. Such confusion is part of the bamboozlement that helps sell insurance policies. If anything, they now have another year to test-market how much of that will transfer to full-blown Obamacareland.

The Times is honest about GOP Rep. Fred Upton's bill, which would let these non-complying plans remain in place forever. But, Obama's opened the floodgates, and now, he'll have to explain why, if his one-year delay is good, Upton's bill isn't. Which, in turn, will lead to yet more obfuscation somewhere.

Even Obama's proposed fix will lead to more confusion. And, at least one state with a state-level change is officially opposing it.
Commissioner Mike Kreidler said Thursday he won't allow insurance companies to extend their old policies that didn't meet the requirements of federal health care reform. An estimated 290,000 Washington residents have received notices that their old insurance policies will be canceled.

"Trying to do what the president has proposed would be very disruptive to the insurance market in the sate of Washington so no, we will not be allowing insurance companies to extend these policies," he said. "You'd have to go back and re-rate all of the policies, and the premises for what they originally proposed rates would all change." ...

"I do not believe his proposal is a good deal for the state of Washington," Kreidler said.
That said, per the story, Obama's plan requires state approval from states that have their own exchanges. And, especially if wingnuts start astroturfing, people like Kreidler are on the firing line.

That, in turn, leads to Obama making the best argument yet that the gap between Obama the reality and hope and change the myth is at least as much as between the reality of JFK and Camelot the myth.

No wonder more and more Democrats become more and more leery of a man who seems to be flying by the seat of his pants, and with less skill and suavity than Slick Willie Clinton had at it. Beyond the Obamacare undercutting, there's the apparent lack of backbone this demonstrates and more.

And, that afraidness showed up in the vote on Upton's bill. It got 39 Democrats. I'm pretty sure it will still fall short in the Senate, but ... it might not.

This has other political fallout. All of the alleged advantage Congressional Democrats, by generic ballot, had gained over the government shutdown, has vanished. And, since insurance CEOs are at the White House today, we may see yet more flip-flopping to come.

As for the success stories? Sure, they're real — in states with state-level exchanges.

Yes, in states without, in many of them, governors have been deliberately obstructive, and that's part of the problem. And? Dear Leader should have anticipated that, and thus, could have made more provisions for that, even if he found it hard to find much more money for that.

Don't blame me, folks; I didn't vote for him either time, and in 2008, I voted for the black and the woman on the same ballot, to boot. Only George W. Bush's famous phrase, "the soft bigotry of low expectations," keeps many people from realizing just how bad Obama is at times, because he's being compared to the low expectations from the Bush presidency.

Otherwise, just be honest — you can claim a lot of the problem is about optics, as long as you don't claim all of it is. You can claim that Obamacare has helped reduce health care costs without claiming it's been the primary driver.

That said, it's  understandable why Obamiacs would like to blame anything and everything, usually starting with  tea partiers and now running on to claims there's a targeted effort to take the exchange website down with directed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

When, over the real question of that website, Obama either has a White House and related staff of gross incompetence levels, which ultimately gets back to the rotting fish's head at the top, or else, once again, is lying with less suavity and conviction than Slick Willie, I understand the psychological need to grasp at conspiracy theories, no matter how untrue they are.

No comments: