STATE INSURANCE COMMISSIONERS GIVEN TEST THAT WHITE HOUSE POLITICIANS FAILED.
Things have nowhere to go but up.
Previously, I wrote about the Health Insurance Exchange website problems. "Mr. Obama, Fix This Exchange, NOW!" posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013. This week I am writing about a separate Health Insurance problem. This problem has the same cause but unlike Health Insurance Exchanges, it has nothing to do with the internet or with technical capabilities.
It started out with health insurance companies cancellling health insurance policies. The reason that the health insurance companies gave was the Affordable Care Act or ACA a/k/a Obamacare. Let's not address the health insurance companies' declarations about their cancellation for now. The fact is that they cancelled a number of health insurance policies that people in America wanted to keep.
That is a problem for President Obama. He famously said, many more times than once, that a reason to support the ACA was that "if you like your health insurance policy, you can keep it." However, you can't keep a policy if the insurance company cancels it.
This was politically awkward for the president, at best.
The health insurance companies, moreover, apparently did not tell President Obama that they were going to cancel policies before they cancelled them.
A political perception apparently draws a political fix only. In the face of his political problem of cancelled health insurance policies, supposedly cancelled because the ACA required cancellation, President Obama's political fix was to allow the health insurance companies at this late date to keep their health insurance policies for another year -- and so allow people in America to keep their health insurance policies for another year, too.
The problem with President Obama's political fix was not with the health insurance companies, so much as it was and is a problem for the State Insurance Commissioners who have to regulate the health insurance companies which includes reviewing their rate requests for next year's health insurance policies. But, the rate filings for these policies never happened because the health insurance companies were never going to extend those pre-existing policies for another year, or ever.
President Obama did not talk to the State Insurance Commissioners before he announced his political fix of allowing health insurance companies to keep their now-cancelled health insurance policies for another year.
The State Insurance Commissioners are understandably upset with this whole situation. At the last minute, the problem of governing this ACA implementation issue has been shifted to them and to make the president's fix work to solve it. See Jonathan Weisman, "In Fracas on Health Coverage, Some Democrats Feel Exposed" p. 1, col. 1 (New York Times Nat'l ed., Sunday, November 17, 2013).
Maybe the president's fix will work; right now, it looks to most State Insurance Commissioners that it will work. See Reed Abelson and Suzanne Craig, "After Meeting, Health Insurers Question Proposal's Workability" p. A12, col. 1 (New York Times Nat'l ed., Saturday, November 16, 2013).
The president's political fix in this situation was unfair to the State Insurance Commissioners. (Perhaps for that reason alone, the president did not tell them it was coming.) But it may have replaced Bad Faith with Good Faith for the country on this issue. Perhaps the president's fix will work with the State Insurance Commissioners in chare of making it work, and the president's political advisers apparently no longer in control of this issue.
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