A Band-Aid

By From page A4 | November 18, 2013

Nov. 14 President Obama gave people a year to renew individual-market policies that had been canceled.

White House officials said they will send a letter to state insurance commissioners specifying that current plans sold to existing customers will not be considered out of compliance with the health care law in 2014, according to a FoxNews report.

Good luck with that. There have been about 5 million policies canceled already because they don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The president’s latest fiat is like putting a Band-Aid on an arterial wound.

“The only reason consumers are getting notices about their current coverage changing is because the ACA requires all policies to cover a broad range of benefits that go beyond what many people choose to purchase today,” America’s Health Insurance Plans’ President Karen Ignagni said following Obama’s comments.

“Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” she warned.

As Montana Democrat Sen. Max Baucus said about his own legislation after the Department of Health and Human Services issued a couple of pounds worth of rules, this is a “train wreck.” And now Obama is turning it into absolute chaos.

The only sure cure for this is to scotch the whole thing and start over. Start by not telling people and businesses what insurance they should have. Give a tax break to those purchasing insurance on the open market. Cap malpractice pain and suffering claims. Encourage a high-risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions. Start replacing Medicaid with means-tested subsidies to purchase regular insurance. Keep it simple. The state insurance commissioners have done enough to gum up the works. The federal government should leave a light footprint.

Mountain Democrat

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