A team of experts from the Heartland Institute, including doctors, doubts that Obamacare is fixable – even though President Obama on Thursday announced a “fix” to the problem of millions of Americans being told their policies are canceled.
“First, kill the plans by regulations, then try to resurrect them? The whole idea of insurance depends on faith that the plan you are funding will continue to exist. Who can believe this now? Our access to care will depend on the whim of government until we declare independence,” said Dr. Jane Orient, chief of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Under a report headlined “Fairy Tale,” the Weekly Standard explained how Barack Obama has decided to use “enforcement discretion” to allow insurance companies to continue offering plans that don’t meet Obamacare’s minimum requirements – essentially an illegal policy.
The plan Obama announced on Thursday would have the Department of Health and Human Services tell state insurance commissioners they have permission to let consumers who have such disqualified policies keep them. But only through 2014. The plan has gotten a virtual thumbs down from insurance regulators and insurance companies alike.
Commented the Standard, “Obama’s proposal is an extra-legal solution to a big problem for millions of Americans around the country.”
House Speaker John Boehner said what Obama wants to do isn’t possible administratively if one wants to keep it legal and effective.
The Heartland Institute’s experts immediately jumped into the fray. Officials for the organization that has as its mission to find, develop and promote free-market solutions joined Orient in blasting Obama’s ideas.
“President Obama is flailing desperately for some path to solving a problem of his own creation. The fact that plans people liked are being canceled is a feature, not a bug, of his national health care overhaul. Now he is attempting to beg insurers and state insurance commissioners to go along with a brazen, and likely illegal, attempt to play for time, extending 2013 plans into the next year,” said Benjamin Domenich, senior fellow for health care policy at the institute.
“This would require an enormous amount of cooperation from insurers, and it is already being rejected as unworkable by Democratic insurance commissioners in many states,” he said. “Ultimately, Obama’s fix is not a fix at all – it is just an attempt to shift blame away from the White House, which is where most of the blame for this debacle ought to fall.”
Joining him was David L. Applegate, policy adviser for legal affairs.
“The president’s speech today is the perfect metaphor for the legislation that will define his presidency: not ready on time and failing to deliver what it promised. The president has shown once again that Obamacare is not ready for prime time and neither is he.”
He continued, “A creature of academia and community organizers, the president lives in a bipolar world: one world of theories to which he clings no matter what the facts, and one in which the forcefulness of demands – ‘What do we want? We don’t know. When do we want it? NOW!’ – is the only thing needed to achieve any given goal.”
He was optimistic of the eventual result, though.
“But facts are stubborn things, and in the end win out. The facts are that Obamacare was an ill-conceived and unworkable plan, poorly executed, and thus doomed to fail from the start. A Democratic president and Congress have put the nation through a great deal of turmoil for nothing.”
Added Sean Parnell, a policy adviser there, “President Obama’s proposal today at best only delays by one year the breaking of his fundamental promise to the American people, that if you like your plan you can keep it. It is also unclear whether this decree is even possible – forcing insurers to renew policies on short notice that they had long planned to eliminate because of the Affordable Care Act’s requirements may not be feasible for many or most of them.
“Between canceled policies and a website that prevents people from signing up for new coverage, it is possible that millions of Americans will find themselves uninsured on January 1 solely because of this ill-conceived and poorly implemented law. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and enact reforms that put patients and providers at the center of health care, not politicians and bureaucrats.”