We have 10 Democratic senators, probably with more to come, already on record in favor of extending the enrollment period next year.
Maybe those same 10 will be willing to go a little further.
Senator Johnson said today:
“One of the most important promises made by President Obama and Democrat congressional leadership to promote the Affordable Care Act was that Americans who were satisfied with their health plans could keep them. That promise has been broken. More than a million Americans have been notified that the plans they like with the coverage they have chosen have been canceled. Millions more Americans will have the plans of their choice canceled in months to come.”
“Americans want the freedom to choose their own plans and want to be in control of their own health care. They don’t want Obamacare destroying what they have and what they like. They don’t want their personal choices regarding their health plans and their families’ health plans canceled by Obamacare.
“The ‘If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act’ will amend the law to make Obamacare live up to the promises of the politicians who sold the plan to the American public. I will file the bill in the coming week and hope to garner support from fellow Senators of both parties who truly want to make sure President Obama honors his promise that every American has the freedom to keep his or her own health care plan.”
Like Rubio’s bill to delay the mandate, this is superb politics but I think it’s a nonstarter for Dems for the simple reason that it goes a lot further than extending the enrollment period, not a little. Slowly but surely, news about people’s coverage getting dropped is starting to compete with news about Glitchapalooza for public attention. If there’s any one talking point even casual observers took away from Obama’s 8,000 speeches on ObamaCare over the past three years, it’s the “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” crapola. Because that idea is so prominent, and is being revealed day by day as a gigantic lie, O’s uniquely exposed on it; by extension, so are Senate Dems. For that reason, voting against Johnson’s bill to make Obama live up to his promises will be excruciating for them, and of course he knows it. Like I say, great politics.
But they do have to vote against it, I think, partly because bipartisan passage would be simply too humiliating for the White House and partly because, if it became law, it would upset the sick/healthy redistribution scheme at the heart of ObamaCare. Wonks are invited to correct me if I have any of this wrong, but I thought the reason so many plans are being canceled now is because they don’t include all of the “essential benefits,” like substance-abuse treatment, now required by law under ObamaCare. One of the reasons those essential benefits are now mandatory is because the more comprehensive an insurer’s coverage is, the more it can charge for that coverage — even if it’s unlikely that the insured will ever use the new “essential” parts of it. It is, in other words, another way to gouge the healthy in order to help pay for the sick: If you’re going to force a healthy 21-year-old who doesn’t want insurance to fork over $200 per month, nearly all of which will be applied by the company towards paying for coverage of other people’s preexisting conditions, why not go ahead and force him to pay $300 per month instead by adding on extra crap he doesn’t need like substance-abuse coverage? More revenue!
If Johnson’s bill passes, though, and the “essential benefits” rule is lifted, then companies who have been required by law to cancel the $200 plan in favor of the $300 one will be able to bring the $200 one back. (They might not want to since it means forfeiting revenue, but competition might compel them.) That’s $100 less in revenue they’re collecting from the healthy 21-year-old each month; multiply that example by the hundreds of thousands or millions, with healthy young adults signing up for cheap catastrophic coverage instead of the more expensive ObamaCare-required “essential benefits” plans, and suddenly you’ve got a shortfall in the industry between expenditures for the sick and revenue from the healthy. What happens then? Like I said yesterday, this law is an enormous Jenga skyscraper; you pull pieces from it at your own risk. Although that doesn’t detract from Johnson’s shrewdness in making Democrats squirm over it. They deserve to. Let them explain why it’s good for America that people have fewer coverage options at greater personal expense.
If you missed it last night on Fox, here’s Megyn Kelly’s history of the Big Lie.