Who knew Obamacare would be so entertaining

obamalaughs

Image: Frugal-Cafe.com

Looks like Colorado Sen. Mark Udall is the latest in a growing list of Democrats racing to put some distance between themselves and the Obamacare insurance cancellation debacle. He’s proposing a bill — the Continuous Coverage Act — to allow Americans in the individual insurance market to keep their coverage for two years.

Former Pres. Bill Clinton set the example Tuesday when he suggested during an interview that something be done to allow people to keep the insurance plans that were cancelled by the Affordable Care Act:

I personally believe, even if it takes changing the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.

Obama has said he’s looking for solutions for those people, the ones he promised could keep their coverage if they liked it. Meanwhile the Republicans see an opportunity to make political hay and are drafting their own law to deal with the problem. Obama has until Friday to come up with something or the Republicans will take action. Democrats, seeing their own re-election chances at risk, are scrambling to cover themselves. Many are threatening to join the Republicans or, like Sen. Udall, are proposing their own fixes.

The president, of course, is not up for re-election and seems to be in no rush to change, weaken, or delay any portion of his own law. But while he fiddles and Obamacare burns, his reputation for honesty is sinking:

Overall, 47 percent of people said words like “honest and trustworthy” do not apply to Obama, while 51 percent would not describe him as a “strong and decisive” leader.

Meantime, In the wings we have people betting on whether the HealthCare.gov website will be fixed by the end of November as promised — said promise having emanated from the same knowledgable people who said the website would be ready for business on October 1. Let’s hope that while they are trying to fix the website they are also preparing a Plan B for when it still doesn’t work.

This entire boondoggle would all be hugely entertaining, downright laughable, if it weren’t so vitally important to those who lost their health insurance coverage — estimated by Republicans to be some 10 million Americans … but by Democrats to be “only” 5% of the US insurance market.



Categories: Health, health care reform / Obamacare, Law, Obama, Politics

6 replies

  1. In the big scheme of things, pushing to meet artificial deadlines is not very important. Postponing the conversion of those who want to keep substandard policies seems a reasonable measure. A general postponement while the computer system gets a good fix also seems reasonable. Unfortunately for Democrats, President Obama’s reputation took a heavy hit and he has done nothing effective so far to fix that. I think some of his party members likely will be hurt badly in the next election cycle because of this whole debacle.

    • I’m afraid you’re right. Obama has only pride and reputation at stake. But a lot of Dems are up for reelection next year and the way things are going, they will be vulnerable. A damn shame, considering some of the conservative extremists we have in Colorado who are eager to run. I think postponements are an obvious, logical move under the circumstances and certainly more humane (and politically advantageous) than yanking coverage out from under millions of Americans and leaving them exposed.

  2. It’s all politics… anyone with half a brain could discern that Obama could not reasonably make that promise if he realized how many insurers out there did not meet the minimum standards set for the ACA. And the people who got cancellation letters should have known that yes, there was another way around getting cancelled… to replace their lack-of-reasonable-coverage policy with another much better one through their state exchanges (if they had reasonably governors). The cancellations were done by the insurance companies, some of which were scamming their current clients by not telling them about the alternatives as required by the law.

    • It’s most definitely all politics. I halfway believed Obama’s promise because I honestly don’t think he truly understood what was in the law. Sad that he was that ill-informed. After today, when he talked about just learning how complicated insurance is, I became even more convinced that he really didn’t grasp a lot of what’s in the law. The cancellations were required by the ACA because the policies did not include the 10 essential benefits. I dislike all the talk about how people should just go out and buy better policies, as though money were no object and they could afford better policies. They have what they have because it’s all they could afford. The ACA doesn’t magically make them wealthier. They might have had lousy policies, but at least they had something. Now suddenly they have nothing. Who’s going to pay the bills if they get sick now? It’s a terrible mess caused by incompetence and people who didn’t understand what they were doing or what the effects of their actions would be.

  3. Are the individual market plans being cancelled pursuant to the ACA really substandard or lousy? Are ACA policies really better?

    The plan that I currently have, purchased in the individual market (I’m self-employed) costs me $379/month (coverage just for myself). This year I had an outpatient surgery and two doctor office visits that cost me a mere $30 copay each. I also had an ER visit for which my out-of-pocket was $100.

    Under the terms of the ACA Bronze Plan that was being foisted on me for 2014, my monthly premium would jump 54%, to $582/month. Meanwhile, I would be subject to a $2,500 deductible before my insurer would pay out a dime, then I’d be subject to a 50% copay. Result: my out-of-pocket for the above services would leap from $190 to $2,400. This is a better policy? I think not.

    Moreover, ACA policies not only are excessively priced to the consumer, they also offer lower payouts to doctors. Unsurprising result: in many states, few doctors are signing on to accept ACA patients. I saw a report that, in one state, only 7 pediatricians were accepting ACA policies, for example. A bad deal all around: unaffordable premiums and policies that you really can’t use.

    Indeed, a friend who manages billing for several doctors’ groups warned me back in October about the likelihood that ACA policies will be accepted by few doctors, and those that do probably will be at the bottom of the barrel in terms of expertise. Looks like current reports are bearing him out. His suggestion to me: if I can’t find a way to keep my current plan (luckily I have, at least for another year), drop all coverage and self-insure. For me, the breakeven point under an ACA policy would be just about $18,000. That is, my annual medical expenses would have to exceed this amount for an ACA policy to be worth the expenditure. And even then it might not be worth it if, as discussed above, I’d have to travel long distances and endure long waits to see third-rate doctors.

    • I hope you are able to keep the coverage you have. You and so many others like you. ACA is seriously flawed; it was butchered before it passed. Obama got his “signature legislation” and his legacy, but a lot of Americans are going to suffer for it. Not the least of its shortcomings is the failure to consider the serious and worsening doctor shortage that existed before the bill was passed. Or the fact that health insurance is not the same as actual health care. All the insurance in the world is worthless to those people who can’t find or get to a doctor.

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” ~ Cornel West

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