I am not happy with the way the PPACA is being handled. My concerns are not politically motivated. My concerns are not raised because there is a Democrat in the White House. I would be just as displeased if a Republican White House was being as incompetent as this administration.
Our nation has had Democratic presidents before without too many problems. With the exceptions of the Carter and Johnson administrations, I cannot find too much fault with any of the Democratic presidents our nation has been blessed with in the 20th century.
My problems are not with the Democratic party. Rather, I am concerned about the competency of the man that was reelected last November. I did not like the way he handled America’s economic problems during his first term. The number of Americans who are out of work is still higher than it was when he took office in 2009.
However, I am even less impressed with the way he is implementing the PPACA. Even members of his own party are starting to use words like “trainwreck” to describe what he is doing.
Although the White House, and Department of Health and Human Services, promises that the Federally Facilitated Exchanges will be ready to go on October 1, they are playing things very close to the vest.
With less than 3 months to go before the start of the National Open Enrollment, HHS has not given the American public an update on its progress and it has been very evasive when congress has attempted to find out how ready they are.
Insurance agents are required to be trained and certified in order to help Americans. That training is not supposed to be available until later this month.
Even when I am trained, I will not know the final rates or participating insurance companies in my state. That information will not be available until September.
After last weeks announcement that the White House will not enforce the Large Employer Mandate, it is not hard for me to understand why the Democratic chairman of the Senate H.E.L.P. committee warned America that the implementation of Obamacare might become a “Trainwreck.”
I have tried to avoid political speculation and restrict myself to just the facts. I do not like partisanship.
I still feel that Americans have the freedom to choose to be either Republican, Democratic or Independent. However, the facts are shaping up to indicate that the person who is currently tasked to enforce Obamacare is either incompetent or willing to ignore America’s elected congress.
FACT 1: HE SUSPENDED TITLE VIII (C.L.A.S.S.)
When the Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in March 2010, a huge chunk of the law was a plan that would help Americans, under the age of 60, with their future Long Term Care expenses.
Although I disagree with the idea of the United States forming another insurance company to do the same thing that is already provided by private insurance companies, I do disagree with a president ignoring the instructions of congress even more.
The PPACA did not suggest an option to the president. It gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services an order to find a way to make things work. When Mr. Obama saw how much it would cost to do what congress told him to do, he “suspended indefinitely” all work to find an affordable solution.
At a time when private Long Term Care insurance companies are being massacred because they have to make tough choices in order to provide continued protection to their members, Mr. Obama was unwilling to expend the political capital required to do what congress told him to do; make C.L.A.S.S. work.
FACT 2: S.H.O.P.
The PPACA told the Secretary of HHS to create 2 exchanges, by 2014, for each state that did not create their own exchanges.
The first exchange was a place for Individuals to go to shop for health insurance and apply for government programs.
The second exchange (S.H.O.P.) was to be a place for small employers to subsidize the health insurance for their employees. Employees would be able to choose from any of the 4 “metal” plans. If the business owner elected to only offer one of the “metal” plans, employees would be able to elect which insurance company they wanted to use.
The White House spokespeople swear that the Individual exchanges will be ready to go on October 1 but there is a problem with the S.H.O.P. exchanges.
Earlier this year President Obama announced that none of the S.H.O.P. exchanges will be ready to go in 2013. After enough of the leaders of his own political party complained, Mr. Obama amended his announcement.
In May he announced that a modified version of the S.H.O.P. exchanges will be ready to go in 2013. They would act very similarly to the small group plans that are sold directly by private insurance companies. Small business owners would select which plan would be available and employees would have to be happy with that. The concept of employee choice would not be available for plans in 2014.
If an employee is not satisfied with the plan that the employer chooses, it is too bad. If they want help with the premium, they have to learn to like the employer’s choice of health insurance plans. (They may want to look at some of the relatively inexpensive supplements that are available if their employer elected a Bronze plan and they wanted a Gold plan.)
Several private health insurance companies have already committed to offering Individual health insurance plans outside of the government sponsored exchanges. If your employer elects to participate in S.H.O.P. but chooses a plan that you do not like, your only other option would be to refuse any help with premiums and buy a health insurance plan outside of the exchange.
The White House has tried to excuse themselves for not being prepared with fully functional S.H.O.P. exchanges by saying, “Congress did not give us enough time.”
In my opinion, only the biggest fools will accept that excuse. The PPACA was adopted on March 23, 2010. The White House and HHS have had over 3 years to develop S.H.O.P. That is about the same amount of time it took the Roosevelt Administration to take the idea of an atomic bomb from theory to a working device during WWII.
FACT 3: LARGE GROUP MANDATE
The PPACA included a controversial mandate for all employers with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance.
Congress understood that many large businesses already offered group health insurance to employees. The mandate would only affect the minority of employers with more than 50 employees who did not already offer health insurance.
However, the Law of Unintended Consequences took president over the law of congress. Several “Large Employers” either laid off workers or cut the hours of employees so they would be classified as part-time employees and not eligible for benefits.
Last week, Mr. Obama announced, in the evening before congress adjourned for the July 4th break, that the Large Employer Mandate would be suspended until 2015.
Unfortunately, he did not announce that the Individual Mandate for all Americans to buy government approved health insurance in 2014 was suspended as well.
What this announcement did, besides show Mr. Obama’s total disrespect of congress, was force millions of additional Americans into the Individual Exchanges.
Thousands of waitresses, hotel employees, etc., who were counting on health insurance coverage through their employer now have to change their minds. In order for them to be compliant with the law, and qualify for help with the premiums, they have no choice but to enroll in the Individual health insurance exchanges.
This decision is drawing criticism from both extremes of the political spectrum. The Democrats who supported Obama during the 111th congress are concerned about how this decision will affect them in the mid-term elections. If nothing else, it calls into question their priorities. Are they thinking about their constituents or the party leadership when they vote.
Many of the pro-business Republicans in congress rejoiced that large employers will get a 1 year reprieve but there have been a few questions asked.
One republican senator openly questioned if the president legally has the right to ignore instructions from congress.
I am not a lawyer, but in insurance we have a principle called,
“Estople.” It says that once someone has waived their rights to do something, it cannot claim that right again in the future.
In my opinion, the current congress has waived the right to require Obama to do what they have instructed so many times in the past 3 years that they no longer have that right.
As far as I am concerned, it would not necessarily be a bad thing if every member of Congress was required to retire and we start over with an entirely new congress.
Maybe they could convince this president that his job is not to pick which laws he wants to enforce. He is required to enforce all the laws that congress approves.