An unsettled act

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You know what? If the damned thing got passed into law it can be passed out of law. So what if the Republicans were gonna shut down the country. The Democrat party didnt need to rollout out on 1 Oct 2013. As usual the belief that the dems were right and republicans wrong is propagated by the staff.

The Sentinel’s timely editorial – “An unsettled act” – aptly captures the inherent tension between the substantive public policy underlying the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) and the political posturing prompted by its lamentably incompetent “roll out”.

It remains indisputable that the ACA—as enacted – explicitly “grandfathered” all then-existing policies, regardless of whether they complied with its minimum standards.  That fact justified President Obama’s well-intentioned but inadequately qualified assurances that “if you like your health insurance policy, you can keep it”.

What the ACA failed to anticipate was health insurers’ profit-driven motive to “bait and switch” trusting policyholders out of “grandfathered” policies into “non-grandfathered” policies – and to market noncompliant policies after March 20, 2010 – which the issuer knew (but did not inform purchasers) would have to be cancelled by January 1, 2014.

While critics of the ACA too-readily accuse President Obama of “deliberate deception”, responsible state insurance regulators fully recognize that nothing in “ObamaCare” or state insurance law required the issuance of deceptive cancellation letters.

What the ACA also failed to anticipate was the cost-driven incentive for some employers to cancel their employees’ insurance plans, forcing them (and/or dependents) onto state or federal health insurance exchanges.  If those exchanges worked properly, many of those affected would end-up better off – with at least equal coverage, if not lower cost.

Other than permitting (or state insurance regulators requiring) insurers to rescind dubious cancellation letters, the ill-conceived “quick fixes” sought by Republicans – and supported by some Democrats – threaten to undermine the ACA’s actuarial viability by distorting the composition of the overall “risk pool”.

Of course, if website flaws are not comprehensively corrected, debates over responsibility for “sabotaging” the ACA will become academic.  Nevertheless, it is somewhat discouraging to see spineless Democrats already “hedging their bets” when the next election is still almost a year away.

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