Fixing Obamacare, as opposed to repealing it, is all the rage these days, and there are no shortage of proposals out there to do so. But they don’t all come from the GOP. One measure from Health and Human Services currently making its way through the bureaucratic machine may wind up having Democrats doing battle with the Health Insurance Guru in Chief. In this proposed enhancement, insurance companies would be prohibited from selling fixed-benefit insurance plans as stand-alone policies.
A little-known proposed change to the president’s health care law could result in a new political nightmare for Democrats who are vulnerable in the 2014 midterm elections.
Vox.com says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposal in March that would prohibit insurers from selling fixed-benefit insurance plans as stand-alone policies.
Fixed-benefit plans are so bare bones they don’t even qualify as actual health insurance under the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate – so people who are covered by these plans only are still subject to the penalty unless they qualify for an exemption.
These sorts of plans, with low prices but fixed, limited benefits, are described as being most likely to be held by people looking for a supplement to an existing, lower coverage policy or those seeking a bridge remedy when they are between jobs. Not a panacea for most health insurance shoppers to be sure, but a useful tool to have available if you’re looking for some flexibility when money is tight.
Keeping such plans as an option isn’t just desirable to the little guy trying to figure out a solution. It’s also supported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which has plenty of Democrat-appointed members. If this goes through – which looks fairly likely – and the fur begins to fly, it won’t just be Republicans calling the President out on the carpet during some election season frenzy. He’s going to be taking fire from members of his own party who are already facing enough challenges in holding on to their jobs.
This may be horrible for the American people, but hey… it’s Barack Obama’s signature achievement of his presidency. (Aside from ending the war in Iraq, that is.) More to follow.