Obama Repeals Obamacare

That was my first reaction to this morning’s story.

The Obama administration on Thursday night significantly relaxed the rules of the federal health-care law for millions of consumers whose individual insurance policies have been canceled, saying they can buy bare-bones plans or entirely avoid a requirement that most Americans have health coverage.

Some of my initial reactions, which I have to say are snarky and uncharitable.

1. This really amplifies “You have to pass the bill to see what’s in it.”

2. Until yesterday, this policy would have been impossible to enact legislatively (had the Republicans proposed it, the Senate would have killed it or Obama would have vetoed it). However, if I were a Republican, I would now introduce legislation that word-for-word enacts this proposal, just to rub the Democrats’ nose in it.

3. I am sure that many folks will say that the problems with the web site are what caused the change. However, my view is that had the web site been working well, people would have found out much sooner how unattractive the insurance policies were, and the self-repeal of Obamacare would have been just as imperative.

Ezra Klein notes,

A 45-year-old whose plan just got canceled can now purchase catastrophic coverage. A 45-year-old who didn’t have insurance at all can’t. Why don’t people who couldn’t afford a plan in the first place deserve the same kind of help as people whose plans were canceled?

12 thoughts on “Obama Repeals Obamacare

  1. “However, if I were a Republican, I would now introduce legislation that word-for-word enacts this proposal, just to rub the Democrats’ nose in it.”

    The House actually did that with the delay of the employer mandate, and pass such a bill. The Senate didn’t take it up, and the White House threatened to veto it. (Also, the Republicans and Democrats both added it to their list of votes to “repeal Obamacare.”)

    This particular action is actually on better ground than some other delays, since the bill has pretty wide authority to waive the penalty for people in adverse situations, including financial distress. Though as you note, hard to imagine why “not being able to afford it” wouldn’t qualify.

  2. This is the beginning of the end of the mandate. As a tax, such exemptions are likely to founder on equal protection grounds.

  3. The House should repass the mandate repeal while pointing out the inequity issues of these waivers. It won’t go anywhere, but neither would passing Obama’s waiver.

  4. Ah! Ezra Klein, that true believer amongst all the Old Believers.

    The answer my friend is blowing in the wind that blew out of Harry Reid’s office to escape the arrival of Scott Brown and be delivered into the hands of the perceptive Pelosi.

    The consideration Ezra desires is not provided for in the various loopholes of the statute he so greatly admired; and, in which, he may still deeply believe.

  5. As to proposals to “do something,” we must wait till the cats now playing with this unraveling, tangled skein of yarn are done, so it can be rolled into a proper ball from which it may be re-knit into suitable fabric.

  6. I live in California and received a letter from my health insurance provider saying that regardless of Federal changes and exemptions, the State of California will enforce the bill as written. Therefore, my policy was cancelled.

  7. The California insurance department has been operating on naked aggression for several months now.

    They want to capture healthy lives into their exchanges, and they have aggressively ordered the cancellation of fully underwritten private policies for months now.

    I am not sure how this fits into the narrative, but having sold health insurance let me offer the following observation:

    Healthy people in the individual market do not look closely into networks or out of pocket limits. The only thing that matters to them is how much the premium is.

    This is the demographic that is enraged by the nanny state solutions of the ACA/

  8. Hard to see how this change doesn’t run afoul of the Constitution’s tax and spending clause, “all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;” If the individual mandate is a tax, how can certain people be exempted from paying it?

  9. And so the insurance companies will now be the bad guys to not offer the policies our great Sufferer-in-Chief says these poor, misled Americans will be required to buy.

  10. In obama’s world of advancement by affirmative action and the low expectations for such graduates as he, the ACA need only exist in concept to make it real. He’s a construct of the left-coast liberals, vapid, talentless and unable to make it in the real world.

  11. I am a libertarian but I think that the PPACA would be OK if they did the following things:

    1. Get rid of all employer mandates. It seems crazy to me to push employers to provide health insurance and even crazy to then exempt some employers (with fewer than 50 employees) and employees(part time)!
    2. Allow much higher deductibles say up to $50,000/year.
    3. Get rid of the 3 to 1 age premium cap.
    4. Get rid of the mandates to cover things like birth control and pregnancy or anything else under the deductible.