November 14, 2013

"It’s Not a Trap."

Writes Jeffrey H. Anderson at the National Review, reacting to Erick Erickson's "It's a Trap" at RedState.

So the righties are in conflict over the proposed legislation fix for the IYLYPYCKYP problem.

ADDED: If Erickson were right, wouldn't Obama have refrained from offering a fix that does not require congressional action?

33 comments:

damikesc said...

The plus is that the bill can't really do anything, but the GOP looks like they're doing something.

And Reid is highly unlikely to let it go to the Senate for a vote.

And Obama is even LESS likely to not veto it.

It is a nice anchor around the Dems waists.

cubanbob said...

Its all too clever by half. Unless the ACA insurance mandates are repealed and the policies are allowed to be sold for several years the companies can't go back to the status quo ante. Even if the ACA insurance mandates were suspended for a few years on the grandfathered policies it would still leave millions in an unfair position as the new applicants get the shaft compared to those grandfathered in. The only thing the Republicans should do is insist on repeal. The Democrats created this disaster and the Republicans don't need to or ought to shoulder the blame for something they were completely against for the begining.

Marshal said...

So the righties are in conflict

There are always different ideas on how to respond. This transparency perfectly healthy despite the efforts by the left to recast open discussions of risks and benefits as dysfunction.

RecChief said...

here is a thought experiment that came to mind while watching a clip of Trey Gowdy on Van Susteren's show.

If this bill passes, the house and senate, and Obama signs it into law, insurers can't just re-instate cancelled policies. The reasons are thus:
1. they are already actuarially building 2015 policies

2. There are 50 state insurance commissioners with their procedures and regulations

3. can the government compel a company to offer a specific product?

So, these people will actually be worse off than before. And the blame will be laid at the feet of the insurance companies because they CAN'T comply even if they want to. So, Gowdy said he would be happy to bail out his fellow citizens, but when pressed, he couldn't answer and had a "I got nothin'" expression on his face.

So here is the question: what would Congress, as a whole, do to help these people? set up a new program initially envisioned as temporary? It wouldn't end if it worked, would it? Would Congress "bail out" these people by becoming the insurer? doesn't that bring us single payer?

Marshal said...

RecChief said...
So here is the question: what would Congress, as a whole, do to help these people?


They should pass a bill that:

1. Reverses all the coverage requirements.
2. Removes all fines.
3. Keeps the subsidies for 2014 only.
4. Allows the subsidies to be claimed even by those going directly to the insurers.

1-3 allow insurance companies to reinstate and improve their policies for 2015 and beyond.

4 provides the best solution to the immediate crisis of millions of people losing their insurance 1-1.

Brando said...

Upton's bill is a gimmick--it's unlikely insurers will go back and give people their same old plans at the same old rates, as Obamacare's requirements and restrictions still apply. And even if those requirements and restrictions were waived for a year, most of these plans would become higher priced anyway, as the insurers try to get higher premiums and deductables now so that the steeper jump next year doesn't cause excessive sticker shock.

But politically it's a win-win for the GOP, whether it becomes law or not. The most vulnerable Dems will have no choice but to vote for it, and run as hard as they can on the hope that Obamacare becomes less unpopular by next year, or other events overshadow it.

RecChief said...

Marshal - an intersting idea. not sure if that would work, but here is a follow up - what to do about all those people who have signed up to medicaid?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

If the insurance companies can't be forced to continue the policies, the only workable choice is public subsidies. That's the real trap.

Matthew Sablan said...

Repeal and start again. No nibbling around the edges. We've tried that before, it doesn't work. Go big on this first, get them to state "This is what we want," then go from there.

Matthew Sablan said...

The other thing, like the cars in the cash for clunkers program, those plans are pretty much gone. Even if we repeal everything, it may be years before insurance prices and deductibles return to pre-ACA levels. Why? Because every insurance company will feel that twinge of "What if the Democrats get power and do it again?"

There's really no fixing this; prices are going to, pretty much for the next generation or so, be absurdly higher.

Marshal said...

RecChief said...
Marshal - an interesting idea. not sure if that would work, but here is a follow up - what to do about all those people who have signed up to medicaid?


Phase out federal funding, let the states decide. At the state level? Phase in premium contributions for those over the poverty level, or phase out the increase in eligibility.

Hagar said...

You all need to realize that all these proposed "fixes" are going to go right by those they are intended to help. Most of them do not yet know what it it all is about or that it has anything to with them, and when or if they do, they will have to go to the ACORN "navigators" for the "fixes."

Lots of luck with that.

Marshal said...

Matthew Sablan said...
Repeal and start again. No nibbling around the edges


I don't think my suggestion is nibbling around the edges. It turns Obamacare into a government sponsored ehealthinsurance.com substitute whose plans are significantly more expensive and include terrible networks. It'll die all on it's own as people move away.

Keeping it does three things: (1) it allows the Dems to save face, limiting political opposition (even dems are now seeing how stupid this was and are looking for a way to climb off the limb), (2) it gives people time to change. An evolutionary process minimizes the customer impact, and (3) while it lasts it'll be a living demonstration of the superiority of markets in delivering services.

Thorley Winston said...

I read Erickson’s piece and I agree with his analysis. The Senate will substitute Landrieu’s bill for the House bill to force the House Republicans to vote for a new set of mandates. The likely outcome is (a) Mary Landrieu (who is vulnerable) gets saved from the voters in her State next fall and either (b-1) Republicans are pilloried for siding with the insurance companies (if they don’t go along with her bill) or (b-2) by voting for a phony “fix” they will be deemed by the same MSM that parrots the Democrat’s lie that this is “a Republican law” to be just as responsible for Obamacare as the people who voted for it, signed it into law and are supposed to implement it.

Stick with repealing it and let the Democrats take the full blame going into the mid-term elections.

Matthew Sablan said...

That was a general response, not a specific response. Your solution is more politically likely to happen, but ideally, we'd nuke it from orbit, just to be sure.

Original Mike said...

"As for Landrieu’s bill, if Republicans can’t successfully argue that Congress has no constitutional power to compel commerce (the basic point of the successful — in that vein — challenge to Obamacare under the Commerce Clause), if they can’t argue that Congress has no power to compel anyone to sell an insurance plan, or, by extension, to compel a doctor to see a patient, etc., then we’re in sad shape."

We are in sad shape.

Marshal said...

Matthew Sablan said...
That was a general response, not a specific response. Your solution is more politically likely to happen, but ideally, we'd nuke it from orbit, just to be sure.


Fair enough, but repeal doesn't solve the immediate crisis. The pre-Obamacare policies are illegal to offer under state law, and the Feds don't have the authority to waive the states' laws. Even complete repeal is only part of the solution.

Matthew Sablan said...

Yeah, that is true. Which sort of got into my second doom and gloom post about how things are going to suck no matter what.

I'm the rain cloud for the parade that is today.

Rusty said...


Fair enough, but repeal doesn't solve the immediate crisis.

The immediate crisis is one solely of the democrats making. Congress could temporarily make all those who's policies have been canceled eligible for the same type of insurance coverage that our congressional betters get.
(1) the mechanisms are already in place. It could be implemented almost immediately.
(2)For those that love government, the government already runs it.
(3) it bypasses state insurance commissions

RecChief said...

or he can bypass congress, accumulating more power to the executive branch, ignoring a co-equal branch fo government, ignoring the constitution, and saving his friends in the legislature.

Marshal said...

Rusty,

It's true it's the dem's fault, but so what? But we're not going to tell 15 million people the Dems screwed you so it's ok that we're going to screw you again by removing the subsidies and are we?

And congress doesn't have the authority to waive the insurance requirements, those are set at the state level. Nor does congress have the right to tell the insurers they must re-offer the polices, particularly at the same prices. It's going to cost a boatload of money to re-enroll everyone on this timeline and the insurers aren't going to (and shouldn't have to) accept that cost.

Deirdre Mundy said...

But is Congress's insurance really that cheap? Their premiums are subsidized by the taxpayer. People buying in might discover that they can't afford the generous congressional benefits for themselves.....

Marshal said...

Rusty,

I misunderstood your congress comment. I don't know whether those bypass the state commissioners or not.

Illuninati said...

I would be for the legislation if it were really a fix. I don't believe it will fix anything.

I'm not a specialist in this law, but my understanding is that the problem is not in the ACA itself but in the regulations put out by the White House. If that is true, then the law should be directed at the White House to force them to change the regulations that are driving out the previous policies.

If the government would forget about giving away free contraceptives and limit their mandates to a bare bones catastrophic policy this wouldn't be happening. People who want to pay more for additional coverage would then be free to chose what they want including their preexisting plans.

RecChief said...

the ability to issue regulations is built into the law. hundreds or thousands of instances where the language reads, "The Secretary [of HHS] shall...."

That is one of the main problems with the law. That is one of the reasons many of us have said it was a bad law. It gives a political appointee too much discretion, and could be used as a political tool. Much like the IRS.

Michael The Magnificent said...

If the insurance companies are still going to be required to cover pre-existing conditions, and be required to charge sick people the same rates as they do healthy people, then insurance companies aren't going to re-issue lower cost policies. They won't be able to afford to. It won't matter how liberal you make the grandfathering regulations, insurance companies would go broke doing so.

Thorley Winston said...

But is Congress's insurance really that cheap? Their premiums are subsidized by the taxpayer. People buying in might discover that they can't afford the generous congressional benefits for themselves.....

A good point to remember the next time someone suggests “Medicare for all” – the only reason that program is (barely) afloat is because (a) the premiums are subsidized by younger taxpayers and (b) the bills are cost-shifted onto people with private insurance or who pay themselves directly.

Rusty said...

And congress doesn't have the authority to waive the insurance requirements, those are set at the state level. Nor does congress have the right to tell the insurers they must re-offer the polices, particularly at the same prices. It's going to cost a boatload of money to re-enroll everyone on this timeline and the insurers aren't going to (and shouldn't have to) accept that cost.

They had the authority to get us into this. If the president can waive requirements for certain groups then congress can waive it for this group. The rule of law doesn't exist anymore.
I'm simply trying to find the least painful solution to a disaster that will require much more legislation.

Sam L. said...

A fix as reported by the NYT. Hmmmmmm. No, don't believe what Obama said, or what the NYT says he says, or anything else the NYT says.

Andy Freeman said...

>The pre-Obamacare policies are illegal to offer under state law

Those policies were legal under state law pre-Obamacare so if they're illegal now, either the feds or state made them illegal post-Obamacare.

I don't know about the feds, but doubt that many states have change their laws. Those that have can change them back, or not. It's their voters.

> and the Feds don't have the authority to waive the states' laws.

The supremacy clause and the current interpretation of the interstate commerce clause lets the feds do pretty much anything they want wrt insurance regulation, states be damned.

The Godfather said...

Whenever the supporter of some proposed Republican plan says Oh, if we're criticized we can just argue thus-and-so (e.g., we can "argue that Congress has no power to compel anyone to sell an insurance plan", etc.), run for the hills. Republicans don't control or even influence the mainstream media. Their brilliant arguments will never be heard. Remember all those great arguments about how the Republicans weren't responsible for the government "shutdown" because they'd passed all these responsible resolutions to re-open it? If you do, you're one of the few.

Besides, it appears that Mr. Rule-By-Decree Obama has solved the problem by ordering that insurances companies can offer the cancelled policies after all. Let Obama and his supporters worry about you unscramble an egg. The Republicans shouldn't do anything to bail him out.

Marshal said...

The rule of law doesn't exist anymore.

He just announced they're changing the rules to allow old plans to be reinstated. Funny, yesterday the law meant one thing, and today the same law means something else.

When Obama uses a word, it means...

Matthew Sablan said...

The whole random waivers and executive legislation probably annoys me more than the actual law. The law was passed, in an underhanded manner, but it checked the technical legal boxes. Like Judge Dredd, it is the law.

Asking for do-overs on specific bits and pieces without DOING IT OVER though is lame, cheap, and most likely technically illegal.