Political Animal

Blog

November 20, 2013 11:44 AM The “Cooperating” Health Care Anarchists

By Ed Kilgore

If you want a clear indication that the administration’s “fix” of the cancellations of individual insurance policies is damaging (though less than the Upton and Landrieu legislative alternatives) to the risk pools on which the design of Obamacare relies for its intended results, look no further than how state insurance regulators—who have to agree to the “fix”—are reacting, per WaPo’s Sarah Kliff:

President Obama’s plan to reverse insurance cancellation notices has created an odd-bedfellows alliance, with states that have most resisted the Affordable Care Act the first in line to implement the change.
The first signs of opposition to the White House proposal, meanwhile, have come from the law’s most ardent supporters, suggesting an early split between the state and federal officials who have so far worked on the Affordable Care Act hand-in-hand….
Regulators in five states — Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — so far have said they will not allow insurers to renew non-compliant plans through 2014. All five states have Democratic governors, are running their own marketplaces, and opted to expand Medicaid under the health law.
“I strongly support the Affordable Care Act, and I know the president wants it to succeed,” Mike Kreidler, Washington state’s insurance commissioner said. “I’m supporting the president in making the Affordable Care Act work in the state of Washington….”
The group on board with the president’s [“fix”] proposal is a bit more diverse than the opponents. Hawaii and Kentucky, two states with Democratic governors running their own marketplaces, are both allowing insurers to renew policies through late 2014. So are Florida and Texas, the largest states to pass on both the state-run exchange and the Medicaid expansion.

If you want to see how strange the tacit alliance between the administration and anti-Obamacare states really is, check out Kliff’s explanation of how Texas is “cooperating:”

Since Texas has refused to implement the health law’s new regulations, it has also said it would not stop non-complaint plans from selling in its market. That was true before the president’s announcement, the Texas Department of Insurance says, and afterward.
“Because Texas is not enforcing the Affordable Care Act, it remains to be seen how President Obama’s executive order will impact the marketplace and consumers,” TDI spokesman John Greeley said. “Whether a company offers or withdraws a policy is a business decision for that company.”

So in effect the administration is offering insurers a doctor’s excuse to evade its requirements for existing individual policyholders, and Texas is going along only because it has declared anarchy.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

(You may use HTML tags for style)

comments powered by Disqus