Here we go: HHS announces that insurers can keep extending un-canceled health plans — until October 2016

posted at 5:21 pm on March 5, 2014 by Allahpundit

Here’s the new ObamaCare “fix” that The Hill promised a few days ago — although, unless I missed something, no one knew how far the new extension would reach until now. As Ed noted earlier, this is pure politics: Originally, King Barack’s generous allowance for insurers who wanted to resurrect plans canceled under the new ObamaCare rules was set to expire on January 1st of next year. Problem is, that would have required sending out new cancellation notices months earlier, which would have blown up in Democrats’ faces right before the midterms. Today’s fix is designed to deal with that problem by punting the deadline to purge un-canceled plans alllllll the way to October 2016, a month before we choose the next president.

Your problem now, Hillary.

A supposedly temporary “fix” that President Obama announced in November to address the problem of the millions of Americans who lost coverage as a result of his health care law has now been extended through Oct. 1, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.

In an attempt to limit the disruption to the insurance industry that would be caused by the move, HHS also announced that the “risk corridor” program (which has been described as a “bailout” to insurers) would be further modified to funnel more money to insurers in states affected by the change…

Obama and his allies long-defended the outlawing of certain health care plans, arguing that they were substandard. And they argued that depriving people of the ability to purchase such plans was essential to making the health care law work. If young and healthy people can purchase cheap health insurance with fewer benefits, they argue, it would make coverage more expensive for older and sicker Americans.

Now, not only is Obama saying that these legacy plans can remain, but he’s saying they can stay alive for three years longer than intended. If they can be extended for three years, the new rules may never fully go into effect (unless Obama will allow a wave of cancellations in October 2016, just before the presidential election). And maintaining these plans will further drive up the cost of insurance on the exchanges.

It’s crucial to grasp that last point, that extending un-canceled plans hurts ObamaCare financially. There’s no way that Obama would do this without a pressing political reason; just as Phil Klein says, the whole point of making insurers cancel plans in the first place was to force healthy middle-class suckers into more expensive “comprehensive” plans so that their premiums could be redistributed to people with preexisting conditions. Allowing those suckers to stay on their old, cheaper pre-ObamaCare plans means that insurers will have to rely on less revenue than they thought, which means Uncle Sam will be under even more pressure to use the “risk corridor” mechanism as a bailout mechanism to cover unanticipated losses. Healthy people will stick with their old plans, sick people will stick with their new ObamaCare plans (replete with guaranteed issue and community rating), and insurers will tear their hair out wondering how to pay for it without billions of dollars from HHS to help. Quite simply, Obama was forced to choose between doing something that would help his party at the ballot box but hurt his signature health-care law and doing something that would help stabilize the law financially at the risk of generating a nasty backlash to his party from consumers with cancellations. He made the political choice. Which is exactly what O’s critics feared would happen as government insinuated itself further into the health-care industry via O-Care. Decisions on health-care policy are now a species of politics. You’re welcome, America.

Astonished righties on Twitter are wondering as I write this why O would screw Team Clinton this badly, laying the issue squarely in Hillary’s lap in 2016. Simple: Obama will extend the deadline again as the next presidential election draws closer. Why wouldn’t he? He’s a lame duck and his party would be grateful to him for defusing the issue; Republicans will grumble but no one’s going to sue to force the re-cancellation of plans knowing that O, shamelessly, would then turn around and blame the GOP for this mess. He’ll extend the extension again, probably sometime in spring 2016 a la that unilateral amnesty for DREAMers that he announced in the spring before he faced the voters two years ago. And if insurers look at their books before then and decide that they simply can’t afford to continue un-canceled plans, Obama can live with that too. It’ll be the insurance companies who are to blame for their heartlessness in that case, not the administration. Obama’s generously giving them the option to keep the un-canceled plans going. If they don’t avail themselves of it, well, that’s plutocrats for you. The key is simply to not have a rash of re-cancellations all at once right before the midterms. Let insurers do it gradually, over the next two and a half years, to soften the political blow.

By the way, the king’s new budget earmarks a cool $5.5 billion for the “risk corridor” program next year. His team says they expect to pay out to insurers with losses no more than they take in from insurers with profits, but who knows how likely that is after today’s move. Exit question: Anyone out there still believe that the individual mandate’s going to be enforced this year? C’mon.


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I preferred it when it was Health, Education and Welfare.

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Conservatives and Fox News are enabling a dictator.

rogerb on March 5, 2014 at 5:25 PM

They need to add a few months to protect Billiary.

Sven on March 5, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Hundreds Will Die!

NYT 24-point headline tomorrow.

BobMbx on March 5, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Hopey, once again is playing Politics!!

canopfor on March 5, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Hah, hah. I’m way ahead of HHS.

I announced when ObamaCare first came out that I was postponing my personal participation in it until at least after the 2016 elections.

In fact, I took it a step further and announced that I was authorizing for myself an automatically self-renewing postponement so that I’d never need give ObamaCare another moment’s thought.

FlameWarrior on March 5, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Meanwhile taxpayers will be stuck subsidizing the insurance companies. Literally the biggest scam in US history.

plutorocks on March 5, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Sarah Kliff ‏@sarahkliff 45m

Ins. commissioner statement on extended grandfathering: “Potential to create confusion…and uncertainty in the restructured marketplace.”

Sarah Kliff ‏@sarahkliff 57m

General rule: When you extend grandfathering, you make exchange plans more expensive. Letting healthy people stay out of the new market.
Expand

canopfor on March 5, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Doesn’t mean they will. Haven’t several states already thanks, but no thanks?

NotCoach on March 5, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Is this called the Cankle Fix?

RovesChins on March 5, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Is this called the Cankle Fix?

RovesChins on March 5, 2014 at 5:30 PM

It’s called 2014 fix. obama doesn’t give two sh!ts what happens to Shrillary.

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 5:31 PM

…till the end of October…then kick it… until after the election!

KOOLAID2 on March 5, 2014 at 5:32 PM

On the bright side, I’m looking forward to the WaPo “Fact Checker” giving himself four pinnochios for claiming Obama was lying when he said, “if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.”

Obviously a racist ReThugliKKKan Tea Partier!!

There Goes the Neighborhood on March 5, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Another illegal move that congress will just roll over and play dead about.

sadatoni on March 5, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Heh, won’t this give conservatives like Ted Cruz a powerful hammer to finally nail the silver spike into the ObamaCare heart?

If Obama really cared about his “signature achievement” he would be forcing it down everyones throat,
damn the political consequences. You see, Obama and his commies thought everyone would go along and embrace his socialism. Now he is trying to stop his fall from grace, but he is going velocity speed with no golden parachute.

Splat goes the commie…..

redguy on March 5, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Today’s fix is designed to deal with that problem by punting the deadline to purge un-canceled plans alllllll the way to October 2016, a month before we choose the next president.
=============================

Well,…ain’t that Co-Inky Dinky, er, coincidence!!

canopfor on March 5, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Somebody must have standing to challenge this?? Is ObamaCare effectively even a law now with so many exceptions and extra-Congressional modifications? Somebody has to have been affected by ObamaCare to claim standing by now.

md on March 5, 2014 at 5:36 PM

C’mon.

Somebody’s gotta call this son-of-a-bit(h out on this crap.

BigWyo on March 5, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Aren’t those plans already canceled?

Joseph OHenry on March 5, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Astonished righties on Twitter are wondering as I write this why O would screw Team Clinton this badly, laying the issue squarely in Hillary’s lap in 2016. Simple: Obama will extend the deadline again as the next presidential election draws closer. Why wouldn’t he? He’s a lame duck and his party would be grateful to him for defusing the issue; Republicans will grumble but no one’s going to sue to force the re-cancellation of plans knowing that O, shamelessly, would then turn around and blame the GOP for this mess. He’ll extend the extension again, probably sometime in spring 2016 a la that unilateral amnesty for DREAMers that he announced in the spring before he faced the voters two years ago. And if insurers look at their books before then and decide that they simply can’t afford to continue un-canceled plans, Obama can live with that too. It’ll be the insurance companies who are to blame for their heartlessness in that case, not the administration. Obama’s generously giving them the option to keep the un-canceled plans going. If they don’t avail themselves of it, well, that’s plutocrats for you.

I don’t know why there are any “astonished righties.” Honestly, if you’re expecting Obama to “play fair” in any sense of the phrase, you just haven’t been paying attention. Principles can be thrown overboard for any half-rational excuse if it will help keep control for the Democrats.

There Goes the Neighborhood on March 5, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Pretty soon he’s gonna wise up to the fact that continuing to push the enactment of the ACA out beyond his tenure will mean that he can’t claim to have done it.

Wiki entry: Affordable Healthcare and Patient Protection Act; passed by Congress in 2009, its implementation was continuously delayed by former President Obama, until finally implemented [repealed] in 2018 by President XXXX.

BobMbx on March 5, 2014 at 5:39 PM

unstinkingbelievable….

luckily the lsm has the ukraine to talk about so this will just slip under the radar for dear leader
/

whats the bloody point of obamacare now….pass it in 2010 but not enforce it for 6 years….puhleeze and they scream about the gop wanting to repeal this boondoggle

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Which is exactly what O’s critics feared would happen as government insinuated itself further into the health-care industry via O-Care. Decisions on health-care policy are now a species of politics. You’re welcome, America.

BTW, that calls to mind something I said when the whole Obamacare push started. Anytime you put the government in charge of an area, every decision becomes a political decision. If you don’t want healthcare decisions to be political, don’t put the government in charge.

Just that simple.

There Goes the Neighborhood on March 5, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Somebody’s gotta call this son-of-a-bit(h out on this crap.

BigWyo on March 5, 2014 at 5:37 PM

You got two possibilities for this: McConnell and Boehner.

Feel better now?

BobMbx on March 5, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Is this called the Cankle Fix?

RovesChins on March 5, 2014 at 5:30 PM

It’s called 2014 fix. obama doesn’t give two sh!ts what happens to Shrillary.

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Obama could give two sh!ts about the midterms. Nobody wants his help and he has no need to care. He has a pen and a phone.

RovesChins on March 5, 2014 at 5:42 PM

see ya hillary, its all yours now….tee hee
-love, barack

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 5:43 PM

So those unworthy plans so lacking in benefits is now the preferred choice? OK, got it- thanks.

hillsoftx on March 5, 2014 at 5:43 PM

md on March 5, 2014 at 5:36 PM

excellent point

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Uncle Sam will be under even more pressure to use the “risk corridor” mechanism as a bailout mechanism to cover unanticipated losses.

King Barack the Magnificent: “Remember, this won’t cost taxpayers ONE DIME!”

No, it’s going to cost one whole hell of a lot of dimes!

GarandFan on March 5, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Members of Congress from safe districts should file suit. Even if they don’t prevail, protect the institution and the rule of law.

IIRC, NC, NH, LA, MT, AR did allow an extension of non-conforming plans last year, which would presumably help endangered Dem senators, but I assume that does not mean that they’ll allow a continuation. The Insurance Commissioner in Louisiana, for example, is a Republican. Not sure about where Virginia or Alaska landed on continuing non-compliant plans.

The GOP needs to win the Senate, and then zero out funding of the risk corridors tied to a debt extension bill. Obama cannot win that fight, and the insurers will flee without the guaranteed subsidy.

matthew8787 on March 5, 2014 at 5:44 PM

also known as “Safe Myself From Impeachment Act”….the man truly fears the Senate turning red…

hillsoftx on March 5, 2014 at 5:46 PM

This is not a country of laws . . . it’s a country of flexible proposals. Particularly when it is ruled buy a self proclaimed dictator with a pen and a phone.

rplat on March 5, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Quite simply, Obama was forced to choose between doing something that would help his party at the ballot box but hurt his signature health-care law and doing something that would help stabilize the law financially at the risk of generating a nasty backlash to his party from consumers with cancellations. He made the political choice. Which is exactly what O’s critics feared would happen as government insinuated itself further into the health-care industry via O-Care. Decisions on health-care policy are now a species of politics.

i want to say this is insanity but it isn’t strong enough of a word. i’m upset with the politicians who created obamacare, but i’m also upset with many of the american people. they fell for this bullcrap, they bought it, they ate it up. they thought the government was going to magically give them free health care or at least subsidized care. they are so in love with government. conservatives tried to warn them, they didn’t listen. a lot of them still see obamacare as a good thing! it just happened to have a few glitches, that’s all.

people are so stupid.

Sachiko on March 5, 2014 at 5:47 PM

At least the Hindenberg had an open bar.

Chuck Schick on March 5, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Obama could give two sh!ts about the midterms. Nobody wants his help and he has no need to care. He has a pen and a phone.

RovesChins on March 5, 2014 at 5:42 PM

He still needs a semblence of propriety. Win or lose in November, all bets are off. The Rethuglicans will always be too scared of a black man to stop him from using a pen and phone.

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 5:49 PM

All bets are off AFTER November.

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 5:49 PM

the libs trying to defend this move on politico are highlarious and just delusional….

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 5:50 PM

billy connel •an hour ago

So when Obama delays the bill unconstitutionally, it’s gracious wisdom. When the GOP tried to delay the bill through constitutional legislation, it was because they were evil obstructionists. Logic brought to you by Obama’s Democratic party.

poster on politico….

straight to the point…
+100

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Why would he hesitate to continue to make whatever changes he wants to whatever law he feels like changing? There are never any consequences. If anyone calls him on it, and few have, the calls are ignored or dismissed as some GOP or Tea Party trying to deny health care to the needy, or calls of racist behavior and he just continues on with his marry lawless tactics. He could care less about the law he crammed through. It’s all about politics.

scalleywag on March 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM

See voters, now you can wait until 2016 and reelect the same incompetent dolts who will stick it to you even harder. Obama must believe the electorate is irrevocably stupid.

rplat on March 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM

the libs trying to defend this move on politico are highlarious and just delusional….

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Ma’am, why must you insist on subjecting yourself to such crap as Politico and Morning Schmoe? And I call you ‘Ma’am’ in honor of the Jester, not Senator Ma’am. :)

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM

the next president will be saying I inherited quite a bit in their first 100 days….

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Somebody’s gotta call this son-of-a-bit(h out on this crap.

BigWyo on March 5, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Ted Cruz did right before ObamaCare became fully funded….

Ted Cruz will hand Obama his ass soon enough.

redguy on March 5, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Somebody must have standing to challenge this?? Is ObamaCare effectively even a law now with so many exceptions and extra-Congressional modifications? Somebody has to have been affected by ObamaCare to claim standing by now.

md on March 5, 2014 at 5:36 PM

A ton of people have standing now, if that will do any good is another matter. This law is getting patch worked at the State level. If one State says no, you cant keep your policy and your neighbor across the State line gets to keep his old policy in another State, that might give someone standing.

That at least should get the ball rolling in the Courts. Not sure if it will do any good.

Johnnyreb on March 5, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM

so you don’t have to….hide behind enemy lines to see what they are saying….

:)

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 5:57 PM

I honestly don’t think this gets the dems off the political hook. If the Rs play it right, they can insist that this means there’s still time to get rid of Obamacare legislatively, but only if the dems lose control of both houses. Voters are not only angry about the law, but are afraid of what the future will bring.

soozq on March 5, 2014 at 5:59 PM

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 5:57 PM

How your head doesn’t ‘splode listening to Mika Zhuzhinski is beyond me.

(yes I know it’s Brzhinski, but Rush pronounces it the way I spell it.)

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Can the King Baracka Obama usurp State Insurance Commissioners’ authority?

/Yes he can

Key West Reader on March 5, 2014 at 6:00 PM

You got two possibilities for this: McConnell and Boehner.

Feel better now?

BobMbx on March 5, 2014 at 5:41 PM

I just threw up on my shoes, but yes, thanks for asking.

I quell my rage with beer.

This $hit is getting ridiculous…

BigWyo on March 5, 2014 at 6:01 PM

I’m getting dizzy. Who can keep up with all this crap?

TarheelBen on March 5, 2014 at 6:02 PM

OT….Bret Baier just announced the poll out tonight shows Obama’s approval rating down to 38%. It was 42% last month.

CoffeeLover on March 5, 2014 at 6:02 PM

C’mon.

Somebody’s gotta call this son-of-a-bit(h out on this crap.

BigWyo on March 5, 2014 at 5:37 PM

I hear tell there’s a new Bush out there in Texas… steely-eyed, keen a purpose. A gun-slingin’ chaps-wearin’ good ol’ boy just itchin’ for a fight!

Fathom on March 5, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 5:59 PM

lol…its an art :)

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 6:04 PM

dippity do wasserman schultz complaining that the house voted for the 50th time to repeal obamacare and that its working….
via twitchy….

lol

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 6:04 PM

What’s it going to take to end this ACA nightmare? The executive branch has completely rewritten a law and everyone stands by watching and saying they can’t do that.

If we ever get back in office I hope these liberals remember who rewrote the rules so we can pick and choose what we want to enforce and maybe throw in a few choice EOs.

tej on March 5, 2014 at 6:07 PM

see ya hillary, its all yours now….tee hee
-love, barack

cmsinaz on March 5, 2014 at 5:43 PM

cmsinaz:Lol,..thats about it!!:)

canopfor on March 5, 2014 at 6:07 PM

I hear tell there’s a new Bush out there in Texas… steely-eyed, keen a purpose. A gun-slingin’ chaps-wearin’ good ol’ boy just itchin’ for a fight!

Fathom on March 5, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Jesus, yer gonna smoke a turd in Hell for that…….

BigWyo on March 5, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Let me go back to my original suggestion, that the House should pass a resolution deeming that the Senate bill wasn’t deemed to be passed by the House back in 2010. It wouldn’t work with a serious law (probably), but the ACA is by now fundamentally ridiculous.

PersonFromPorlock on March 5, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to pass this in 2016?
/

What a phukup.

CWchangedhisNicagain on March 5, 2014 at 6:24 PM

Serious question: What will be the best state to live in when the shit we see happening reaches critical mass?

I always thought I’d be dead before I had to actually decide.

I now believe I was wrong.

Fathom on March 5, 2014 at 6:25 PM

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 5:59 PM

I’m with you on that. I’ve tried to read and listen to many lefty sites/programs, with an open mind.

It mostly makes me sick…

fresh air on March 5, 2014 at 6:27 PM

27 Democrats support House GOP measure to delay ObamaCare penalty

Twenty-seven Democrats on Wednesday sided with House Republicans on a bill to delay tax penalties for failing to buy health insurance this year under ObamaCare.

Flora Duh on March 5, 2014 at 6:45 PM

How about Republican Attorney Generals start suing the Insurance Companies offering these illegal plans?

Tygers36 on March 5, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Lawless…

Seven Percent Solution on March 5, 2014 at 6:54 PM

The government has our health in their very hands……if you resist that can take it away.

d1carter on March 5, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Fascist ****.

Murphy9 on March 5, 2014 at 7:41 PM

This wannabe tyrant/dictator doesn’t give a rip about those people he is ‘helping’!!! This is purely political and clearly unconstitutional..just makes me sick that he can get away with anything he wants with no consequences

sadsushi on March 5, 2014 at 7:41 PM

Serious question: What will be the best state to live in when the shit we see happening reaches critical mass?

I always thought I’d be dead before I had to actually decide.

I now believe I was wrong.

Fathom on March 5, 2014 at 6:25 PM

It depends on if you want to join or get away from critical mass. In my opinion if you want what they are offering (to be owned but taken care of) it would be NY, CA, NJ, or MD or if you are considering resisting it then TX, LA, AL, MS, GA, SC.

I chose the rural GA option as a transplant from northern VA.

tej on March 5, 2014 at 7:50 PM

The idiot masses will cheer obamacare and by the time they realize they have been had, Hilary will already be in the Whitehouse. So screwed.

Jack_Burton on March 5, 2014 at 8:15 PM

If the effects of Obamacare are to be delayed until three months before Obama leaves office, and one month before his replacement is elected, why not delay it until after he leaves office? Then Republicans can crow between now and then about how if Obamacare was so great, why delay it at all, then the next Republican President can sign a repeal bill or, as Romney promised, give a waiver to all 50 states.

Then those 4 million or 2 million or whatever number of people who bought high-deductible, high-priced bronze or platinum health insurance on the exchanges will be America’s biggest losers, when they could have had their old policies re-grandfathered by royal executive fiat for another three years. Maybe. If the insurance companies go along with it. Inch’Allah.

Steve Z on March 5, 2014 at 8:25 PM

Doesn’t mean they will. Haven’t several states [said] already thanks, but no thanks?

NotCoach on March 5, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Well the problem is twofold.

1) Will courts rule based on the law, or on what President Obama said?

2) If President Obama decided mid-next-year that the law “now” stands as written and fines/punishes people who violate the letter of the law; is that legal or not?
2a) If the law is more important that what the President says; then people violating the law are in huge financial trouble regardless of any future change.
2b) If what the President says is more important than the law, when (I’d say if, but lets be honest WHEN) he changes it again anyone violating his new directive is in huge financial trouble.

I see no justification that a President’s past words could trump BOTH the written law AND any new words from the President.

The only safe choice is to follow the actual law and ignore the President claiming you can ignore the law.

Thinking the President who has changed the enforcement of this law without changing the letter of the law repeatedly won’t change it again, and you’ll be ok because this is the last change is foolish beyond words.

gekkobear on March 5, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Those policies were cancelled by because they were “bad” policies. That was why the President’s statement about being able to keep these policies turned out to be a big lie – he knew that they could not be kept because they were “bad” Now, after people have been greatly inconvenienced and had to scramble around for insurance (usually getting something more expensive or having higher out of pocket costs), they are now told that, so sorry, we guess it wasn’t such bad insurance anyway so now you can keep for a couple more years. Why do this after the impact? Oh, that’s right, there is an election coming and his side is getting hammered.

evie1949 on March 5, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Isn’t there some young, enterprising lawyer that could initiate a class action suit on behalf of everyone whose plan was canceled and they were forced into an exchange. Haven’t they been treated “unequally” in the way the law is being applied?

olesparkie on March 6, 2014 at 4:17 AM

olesparkie on March 6, 2014 at 4:17 AM

Agree, Where are all the class action lawsuits?

————–
This kind of throws a wrench in all the IRS plans to monitor and go after people that don’t have insurance and don’t pay a penalty…

albill on March 6, 2014 at 7:40 AM

It hurts like hell when you put your hand on a red-hot stove, and that’s a good thing. It gives you a big incentive to get yourself out of a potentially lethal situation. Obama (and Congress, mostly by inaction) are continually numbing the pain caused by Obamacare, and the result is going to be serious damage to America’s health care system. Republicans have largely gone along with this, so they don’t get pegged as the pain-causing villains. They should have done everything they could to assure that no Obamacare anesthesia was administered.

SacredFire on March 6, 2014 at 8:31 AM

So obama the idiot who forced this down our throats gives a big FU to the country.

Ta111 on March 6, 2014 at 10:27 AM