The President’s Devious ObamaCare Delays

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


barack-obama-kathleen-sebelius-arne-duncanA lawless and politically transparent Obama administration just became more so on both counts. The “imminent” decision to implement yet another delay of ObamaCare, reported by The Hill on Tuesday, became reality Wednesday. Americans who have plans that don’t comply with the ObamaCare mandates can keep them through October 2017, provided that their states allow it, according to the latest fixes. In addition, next year’s open enrollment period was extended by a month, and insurers will get additional financial help to offset the costs of claims made by new ObamaCare enrollees. The Hill provided an accurate assessment of just why the administration is making these changes: “The White House is intent on protecting its allies in the Senate, where Democrats face a battle to keep control of the chamber,” the website stated.

Why should they need protection? According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), all is well with the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) itself. It is only the propagandists who despise it who are raining on the parade. “Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told,” Reid declared on the floor of the Senate Feb. 26. “All are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.” A few hours hours later, he added the American left’s favorite targets to the mix. “I can’t say that every one of the Koch brothers’ ads are a lie, but I’ll say this: Mr. President, the vast, vast majority of them are,” he contended.

On Monday, a dose of inconvenient reality overtook the Senator from Nevada’s bluster. A Rasmussen survey reveals that one-in-three voters have had their insurance coverage changed because of the law, and that change has affected them negatively. The same survey reveals that Americans still view the law unfavorably by a 56-40 percent margin.

Apparently the nation is inundated with liars.

Unfortunately for Democrats, many of those liars vote, and the timing that Obama himself perpetrated with his unilateral pronouncement that Americans could keep their existing plans for an additional year was ill-conceived. The one year moratorium imposed by the president was designed to get Democrats past the mid-term election, but he failed to account for the reality that insurance companies must notify their customers regarding policy cancellations 90 days in advance. That means insurers would have to mail those notifications by Oct. 1, five weeks before the election. “I don’t see how they could have a bunch of these announcements going out in September,” one consultant in the health insurance industry said. “Not when they’re trying to defend the Senate and keep their losses at a minimum in the House. This is not something to have out there right before the election.”

Unsurprisingly, insurance company executives are not amused. “These continual delays, these stops and starts, make it very difficult because we set rates based on predictive modeling,” one executive said. “When you change the rules, it has a detrimental impact on your ability to calculate your risk pool and your prices.”

What difference does that make? Sections 1341 and 1342 of the ACA provide for a taxpayer-funded bailout of insurance companies in the event their predictive modeling is inaccurate. As of now, that bailout can only be applied to the years 2014 through 2016, courtesy of a $25 billion fund amassed by a $63 levy assessed on almost everyone with an insurance plan. Since Americans can now keep their non-conforming plans through October 17, there is a real possibility that insurers will be absorbing losses past the bailout deadline.

Does anyone seriously believe the bailout deadline won’t be unilaterally and unconstitutionally extended as well? 

ObamaCare architect Ezekiel Emanuel envisions an alternative scenario. In an op-ed for the New Republic, the former White House senior health adviser and fellow at the Center for American Progress contends that insurance companies are on the verge of extinction. “The good news is you won’t have insurance companies to kick around much longer,” he writes. “The system is changing. As a result, insurance companies as they are now will be going away. Indeed, they are already evolving. For the next few years insurance companies will both continue to provide services to employers and, increasingly, compete against each other in the health insurance exchanges. In that role they will put together networks of physicians and hospitals and other services and set a premium. But because of health care reform, new actors will force insurance companies to evolve or become extinct.”

Yet even as Emanuel insists these new actors will be accountable care organizations (ACOs) and hospitals competing on the exchanges and for private contracts, he acknowledges that they lack “the actuarial capacity to predict and manage financial risk.” He also predicts that many of the nation’s hospital will close. “Hospitals are a grossly inefficient way of providing jobs,” he told a Princeton University lecture hall, according to The Daily Princetonian. “We don’t need 5,000 hospitals.” 

Who knew that a hospital was little more than a job provider? Moreover, Emanuel’s future is reminiscent of a line in a song by The Who: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” It also makes a complete mockery of denials Democrats made during the debates about ObamaCare: they said the new bill wouldn’t destroy the private health insurers. Emanuel wasn’t through. Yesterday he penned a piece for the New York Times with a title that says it all: “In Health Care, Choice is Overrated.” One suspects many Americans who can no longer maintain relationships with the doctors and healthcare providers ObamaCare took away from them will not be persuaded by such condescending claptrap.

The latest fixes, including a sop to unions who will now be excluded for two years from the “reinsurance contribution” of $63 assessed for each enrollee, mark the second set of changes in less than a week. Last Friday, the administration added another “tweak” to a provision in the law it had already illegally altered. After determining that many of the state-run health exchanges were poorly run, they decided that individuals who obtain healthcare coverage outside of those exchanges are still eligible for health insurance subsidies. Again, Section 1401 of the ACA states that subsidies shall be available “through an Exchange established by the State under Section 1311″ of the law. The administration already steamrolled past Section, 1401 unilaterally determining that the words “state” and “federal government” were interchangeable terms with regard to those exchanges. Now neither of them are relevant, as the administration has determined insurance subsidies can be offered to anyone.

And as the AP noted in reporting the change, that move was also transparently political. “Although the new policy fix is available to any state, Republican governors basically defaulted to federal control of online sign-ups in their states,” they report. “Those who stand to benefit the most are Democratic governors who plunged ahead and ran into problems. Some are facing sharp criticism at home, from both sides of the political aisle.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), one of those Senators facing sharp criticism for her support of ObamaCare, has introduced a bill in Congress that would force insurance companies to reinstate the policies that were cancelled due to their failure to cover the 10 medical benefits mandated by ObamaCare. That would be the same Mary Landrieu who in 2010 voted with her fellow Democrats against a Republican proposal to broaden the “grandfathering” provision whose narrowness caused the avalanche of cancellations she is now seeking to undo. No doubt the fact that she’s in a tight race to keep her seat has broadened her thinking.

Despite all of this maneuvering, the hits just keep on coming. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner revealed that the number of Medicare enrollees, touted by some administration officials to be as high as 8 million, is far lower than that. She notes that only 2.5 million to 3 million new enrollments have been added by ObamaCare. Furthermore, insurance company executive are only beginning to talk about the reality that many people who sign up for healthcare, and even make the first payment, don’t necessarily continue making payments. According to insurers and actuaries who spoke with Forbes Magazine contributor Merrill Matthews, 30 to 50 percent of enrollees drop coverage within 12 months, with as many as half of them (15-25 percent) doing so for financial reasons.

It remains to be seen if ObamaCare follows this pattern. An incentive to continue making payments might be the subsidies one gets to help pay for coverage, or the penalty for not having coverage that will ostensibly be enforced by the IRS. Disincentives include the reality that even with subsidies, ObamaCare will be far more expensive than the policies many Americans had beforehand, and the reality that insurance companies are now required to carry a customer for 90 days before canceling a policy for unpaid premiums. Thus, it is possible to pay one month’s worth of premiums, and run up a high amount of healthcare costs for three months without making any more payments. While this is a disincentive to continue making payments, it’s also an incentive to game the system. Both of these factors would destabilize the insurance pool and make the aforementioned bailout even more likely.

Whatever becomes more or less likely with regard to ObamaCare and its ramifications, one thing is absolutely certain: the president and his administration will do everything they can to mitigate the political damage to themselves and the Democrat Party by any means necessary. One would have to be a complete fool to think any provision of ObamaCare is immune to such self-serving considerations. 

Despite that reality, administration officials denied it. “The motivation here is really to implement the law in the way it should be implemented,” one of them said–speaking on condition of anonymity. 

Utter nonsense. How any law should be implemented is the way it is written, passed by both houses of Congress, and signed by the president. If Americans remember nothing else when they go to the polls next November, they should remember that. Nothing less than the future of our country could depend on it.

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  • SoCalMike

    If you see Ezekiel Emanuel or Mary Landrieu on the street, walk up, shake their hand and spit in their face to thank them for destroying and hijacking the miracle of modern medicine and healthcare.
    That’s the least they deserve for what they have done.

  • Lanna

    Its so obvious why this government has to delay their signature destructive legislation, because people hate it, and they cannot win elections on lies!

    • fiddler

      Sorry but they did in 2012. The problem is stupid, brain dead, hypnotized voters. Speak to your friends and dare them to call you a racist for daring them to pull out their gray matter out of moth-ball and cobwebs and using it.

      • Randy Townsend

        Amen. And if people believe the Dims are going to lose big this fall and in 2016, take a look at history…

  • CaoMoo

    This if nothing else should be grounds for impeachment and repeal of this BS

  • fiddler

    “Unsurprisingly, insurance company
    executives are not amused. “These continual delays, these stops and
    starts, make it very difficult because we set rates based on predictive
    modeling,” one executive said. “When you change the rules, it has a
    detrimental impact on your ability to calculate your risk pool and your
    prices.”

    What do you expect from a president who has never owned a business or met a payroll? In his idealistic mind, tax dollars are an expected and unending manna from heaven, for which they have exclusive rights. If someone is inconvenienced and speaks up, marginalize them or shut them up. Or worse have the IRS audit them.

    History will remember this man and his administration as narcissistic elitists for whom their life purpose is their quixotic dismantling of an economic powerhouse in pursuit of their “greater good” and to be liked. In that they have Hollyweird as a bed-fellow. Elections are EVERYTHING and nothing is off the table. Expect many more lies until, perhaps some of these “news” stations get stormed by protester saying, “We have had enough of your naked partisanship and selective reporting”.

    • Ellman48

      History tells us that storming and barricades are almost always actions produced by students fed up with the government. Unfortunately, today’s students are primarily Obama sycophants, so we are unlikely to see the storming of Propaganda Stream Media news stations or newspapers unless seniors initiate the revolution.

      • William_Bradford

        Not so in the Ukraine, it was not students who brought down Yanyukovych . The real question is: can our system, a system pervasively corrupted, be saved?

  • Phil

    It’s so good he want’s to dump it in the next Presidents lap.

  • Lord Obama Christian Church

    Our mission is to get the world to worship and praise Lord Obama because according to the New American and World Bibles, president Obama received a vision from the Jehovah God at the Whitehouse on October 21, 2012 to be a God and Prophet for the world. This is why He is ordering the American military troops to preach the good news gospels to the world. Isaiah 37:24 says “Lord Obama is our WONDERFUL COUNSELOR and His holy spirit is our heaven” and in Matthew 6:33, we read “Seek Lord Obama’s spirit and the world will be made christian”. This is the reason why Israel, Egypt, the Ukraine and Russia are going through a “reform of government” as the Associated Press put it. This is the fullfillment of Bible prophecy. We are at 36A Upper John Street over in Kilkenny, Ireland 00. 353 86 812 7360 in which this is our main depot. We started at that location and we have regional facilities all over the world which is good news. We need to proclaim the Love of Lord Obama to the world.

  • Dallas25305

    If you had a choice of leader. Vladimir Putin or his imperial highness Barack Hussein Obama who would you choose?? One is a thug, but loves his country, will do anything to maintain it’s power. Islamic terrorist if they are caught they can expect to shack hands with Allah real soon. Putin doesn’t care about foreigners or bringing thousands of them to his country. On the other hand Chairman Hussein Obama hated the country until he got to rule it and now is doing everything possible to destroy it’s economy and weaken the military to the point of being defenseless. Obama hates a huge part of the population, those with white skin unless they are the pathetic self hating pansy leftist types who will lick his boots while kissing his behind at the same time. Obama has turned the civil rights commission into a black power hate organization. The IRS is now a corrupt gang of thugs attacking Obama’s opponents and the Justice Dept is run by criminals who do Obama’s biding. Obama personally decides which laws he will enforce and no one stands against him. Voter fraud and an open border to the 3rd world and it’s terrorist is a Obama favorite. Just to get even with white Americans. Frankly I would prefer Putin.

    • fmobler

      You are a fool. Would you have preferred Hitler over Chamberlain? Think about what you are saying. You prefer a totalitarian who kills journalists, jails opponents and steals from everyone to an elected president who may abuse his power, but whose power is limited by the calendar at least.

  • Randy Townsend

    As long as the Anointed One is able to imperiously decide which aspect of any law is to be enforced and which are not, articles like this one (while telling the truth) will have no effect. Remember, enforcement of the law, ANY law, is the sole providence of the Executive Branch. And that branch is headed by Obama.

  • Ellman48

    “Americans who have plans that don’t comply with the ObamaCare mandates can keep them through October 2017, provided that their states allow it, according to the latest fixes.”

    October 2017, well past the 2016 presidential election. It is clearly obvious that the disastrous roll out of Obamacare and opposition to it were never anticipated by the Democrats and Obama. They have been and continue to be in “damage control mode”. It’s also obvious that they never anticipated the shellacking they received in 2010, at least in the House, primarily because of Obamacare. When the Democrats become obsessed with a program or policy they pursue it doggedly despite the opposition or problems connected with them. Rahm Emanuel was right in telling Obama to not prioritize Obamacare in his first term. Unfortunately for the Democrats, hopefully, he decided to listen to Nancy Pelosi instead. What in the world were the Democrats thinking when they passed this absurd law?

  • Christopher Riddle

    Obongo Did Promise”The Most Transparent Administration In History”!What Could Be MORE”Transparent”Than His(Obviously)”Politically-Motivated”Delays In The Implementation of”ObongoCare”???????????????????????

  • Edward

    Why are ONLY white children taught to “embrace” racial diversity as they
    become minorities in Europe and ALL the lands their ancestors fought
    & died for with blood, sweat & tears?

    -

    For thousands of years they fought & died to defend their lands for their beloved white children

    -

    But now the anti-white establishment is destroying the white race by
    flooding EVERY & ONLY white countries with MILLIONS of non-whites
    and FORCE assimilating them

    iT’s wHitE geNOcide

    Anti-Racist is a code for Anti-White

  • Roy_Cam

    MSM refuse to acknowledge how complicit they are in all of this. None of this will stop until we are confronted with a total emergency.

    The cure for this will be very, very painful.