Obama Offers ‘Fix’ For Canceled Health Plans
By Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark, McClatchy Washington Bureau // November 15, 2013
PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL COULD MAKE MATTERS WORSE
ABOVE VIDEO: Fox News’ Senior Judicial Analyst, Andrew Napolitano, comments on the legality of President Obama’s recent unilateral proposal to change the provisions related to standards for qualified ACA health plans, and how that change could destabilize the insurance market.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The multiple problems plaguing the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) have resulted in overwhelmingly negative coverage of President Obama’s signature legislation since its launch on October 1.
Thursday’s “damage control” press conference tried to address some of the issues that have led to a disastrous first 6 weeks of the law’s implementation, brought even more attention to Obamacare’s foreboding challenges and raised very legitimate questions about the legality and effectiveness of the proposed “fix” offered by Obama.
However, the President’s proposed “fix” to making good on his promise that Americans could keep their insurance plans if they liked them has been met with strong opposition from the insurance industry, and raised very legitimate questions about the constitutionality of his efforts to prop up the law through executive fiat.
Like the President’s unilateral decision to postpone the employer mandate provision in the ACA, this proposal is being challenged by many members of Congress and constitutional scholars based on the premise that the constitution does not provide the President of the United States the unilateral authority to change parts of any law that he finds inconvenient for political purposes, and that only Congress through defined legislative process can change any part of the law.
The constitutionality question is not a strictly partisan GOP challenge. Shortly after yesterday’s presidential press conference, former Democratic National Committee chairman and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean questioned if Obama actually could legally do what he had proposed, saying, “I wonder if he had the legal authority to do this since this was a congressional bill that set this up.”
In fact, the Congress has identified the need to legislatively address the issue of being able to keep a health plan satisfactory to the beneficiary. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) proposed legislation to be voted on on Friday which would allow insurance companies the option of continuing all existing health plans for a year, and a similar bill was being proposed in the Senate by Mary Landrieu (D-La.).
However, with Obama’s new “administrative” proposal, the Senate Democratic leadership maintained that there is now no need for an immediate legislative fix. They had opposed Sen. Landrieu’s legislation all along, and spokesmen for the President said that he would veto the House bill.
A factual and unbiased perspective on the fall-out of President Obama’s proposed change to the ACA provision that qualified health plans must meet prescribed standards and the executive edict that insurance companies would be allowed to “uncancel” or extend plans that had previously been identified as not meeting ACA requirements appeared on McClatchyDC.com yesterday and is excerpted below. I encourage you to read the entire article.
MCCLATCHYDC.COM — Facing growing outrage from Americans, President Barack Obama reversed course Thursday and offered to let insurance companies sell existing plans even if they don’t meet the minimum standards set by his new problem-fraught health care law.
But Obama’s much-delayed attempt to make good on his promise that Americans could keep their insurance plans if they liked them faces strong opposition from insurance companies, which warn that rates might spike, and it risks undermining the basic premise of his law, which requires quality, affordable insurance.
“We fumbled the rollout on this health care law,” a contrite Obama said in an hourlong news conference Thursday at the White House. “We should have done a better job getting that right on day one – not on day 28 or on day 40.”
The president flatly took responsibility for the slew of problems that have bedeviled his signature domestic achievement, including an error-filled website, and said he’d restore Americans’ confidence in him by fixing HealthCare.gov this month and making good on his promise to allow Americans to keep their plans. “We’re just gonna keep on chipping away at this,” he said.
The debacle threatens to swamp Obama’s entire second-term agenda, raising questions about his competency and credibility. Polls released this week show the president’s job-approval rating at a historic low and a majority of voters saying, for the first time, that he isn’t trustworthy.
“A White House interested in stabilizing this presidency would want to leave no stone unturned in the effort to deal with both those problems,” said William Galston, a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton who’s a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a center-left policy research center.
CLICK HERE to read the entire story on McClatchyDC.com.