Democrats’ well-meaning attempts to “fix” Obamacare will only make things worse.
In my inbox from Boston College comes this explanation from its health-care gurus:
“Unfortunately, for those people who face losing their present coverage and would prefer not to, it is not feasible to allow them to retain it on anything more than a temporary basis,” says Boston College Law School Professor Mary Ann Chirba, J.D., D.Sc., M.P.H. “Doing so for a longer period of time would destabilize the ability to finance the [Affordable Care Act’s] overall expansion of coverage, in terms of both number of people covered and required minimum benefits.”
Hundreds of thousands of consumers are scrambling to find new health insurers after having their policies cancelled because those policies didn’t meet the minimum standards of the new health-care law. Adding fuel to the fire were yesterday’s comments by former president Bill Clinton, a supporter of Obamacare, who said people should be able to keep the health insurance they have.
“I suspect that as President Clinton suggests this approach in his effort to quell an increasingly heated political debate,” says Chirba, “he does understand the logistical infeasibility of doing so, given his Administration’s ambitious effort to enact the Health Security Act in 1994, which employed many of the strategies used by the ACA.”
The reason for this is not simply the impracticability of getting insurance companies to reissue expired policies and the need to get any fix through the Republican House. The essence of Obamacare has always been to force young, healthy people into the exchanges. If they do not do that, the exchanges become a repository for only the sickest people, and the so-called death spiral begins. Indeed, the “you can keep your insurance” idea is the ultimate poison pill — whether offered by the House Republicans or Senate Democrats. It is, in short, a cure that is worse for Obamacare than its current travails — as impossible as that might seem.
Republican House Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says in an op-ed on Real Clear Politics that the problem is not simply the broken health-care Web site: “The real problem is the barrage of revelations in recent weeks that have Americans across the country questioning the credibility and competence of the president and congressional Democrats.”
And the feasibility of a health-care “reform” this mammoth and complicated. That may be why liberal blogger and Obamacare defender Ezra Klein has concluded, “The Affordable Care Act’s political position has deteriorated dramatically over the last week. President Bill Clinton’s statement that the law should be reopened to ensure everyone who likes their health plans can keep them was a signal event. It gives congressional Democrats cover to begin breaking with the Obama administration.” And when that occurs, a GOP proposal to delay Obamacare altogether may not seem so unattainable after all — especially given the meager number, just reported, of only 106,185 people signing up thus far.