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To Stay with Obama or Not? Faced with Fix, Some Dems Still Vow Legislative Action

Hagan says the yearlong extension doesn't go far enough; Begich supports letting people keep their plans permanently. Harkin thinks Obama caved.

by
Bill Straub

Bio

November 14, 2013 - 4:55 pm
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WASHINGTON – Congressional Democrats concerned about the potential impact of Obamacare on their constituents – and concerned about their own political futures – generally reacted positively to the deferred enforcement applied to the healthcare law by President Obama but several indicated they nonetheless intended to proceed with a legislative fix.

The president on Thursday announced that administrative changes would be implemented in the Affordable Care Act to allow consumers to retain the health insurance policies they currently possess even if they don’t meet the minimum standards established under the nation’s healthcare law.

That new provision is intended to last for one year and temporarily complies with a promise Obama made throughout the Obamacare debate that individuals could maintain their policies if they so desired. That vow was proven faulty in recent weeks as millions of customers reportedly received notices from their insurers that their policies were being cancelled because they failed to meet the requirements of the law.

Facing complaints from policy holders and pressure from lawmakers, Obama acquiesced and decided to allow insurers to continue offering individual insurance plans that fail to contain the minimum benefits – though the companies are under no obligation to do so.

“This fix won’t solve every problem for every person, but it’s going to help a lot of people,” Obama said.

The announcement was met with some relief from Democrats who have been hearing from angry constituents about the impact of the law. The situation was further complicated by what thus far has been the failure of healthcare.gov, the website established by the federal government to permit consumers to compare and purchase healthcare policies. Many of those who received termination notices found themselves unable to link on to the site – making it nearly impossible to shop for policies to replace the ones they lost.

In response to the brouhaha, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who is expected to face a tough re-election fight in 2014, sponsored the Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act last week, which requires insurance companies to continue providing plans offered before the Obamacare standards took effect. Insurance firms would also have to explain to consumers why their plans might fall short of the law’s standards, something the administration is also requiring in its extension of the grandfathering of old plans.

Landrieu said that while she was “encouraged” that Obama acted “to stop the cancellation of insurance policies that Americans were promised they could retain,” she nonetheless intends to continue working on a legislative fix to the problem.

“I remain willing to work with anyone who wants to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and keep the significant promise that it holds for our country,” Landrieu said. “If this were easy it would have been done 100 years ago. But for the first time in the history of the country under the Affordable Care Act, middle-class and hard-working families, entrepreneurs, and small businesses will have access to affordable, quality healthcare that’s there when they need it most. And that is certainly something worth fighting for.”

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who also faces the voters in 2016 and supports the Landrieu bill, said the Obama fix is a “step in the right direction” but argued it doesn’t go far enough.

“Americans who have health insurance that they like should be able to keep it,” Hagan said. “Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction that will remove some of the uncertainty people are facing right now, especially in light of the unacceptable failures of healthcare.gov. But a one-year fix is not enough and we need to do more.”

Hagan said a permanent solution is needed “so we do not simply kick the can down the road.” The Landrieu bill, she said, “will give people certainty that they will not lose their current coverage.”

“Right now North Carolinians need accountability, they need to be able to keep their current plans, and we need actual progress on getting healthcare.gov to work,” Hagan said. “I will continue to hold the Administration and insurance companies accountable.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), a co-sponsor of the Landrieu bill, took a slightly different tack, indicating a legislative solution may no longer be necessary. The onus now, he said, falls on the insurance industry.

“I applaud President Obama for responding to the call I and others have put forward to honor the promise of giving citizens with individual insurance plans the option of keeping their plan,” Merkley said. “To fulfill this promise, insurance companies must do their part by extending these plans for their customers. I call upon all insurance companies to fulfill their end of this critical partnership. We cannot go back to the old way of doing things on healthcare and need to see these important reforms through so that every Oregonian has the security of healthcare they can count on.”

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All Comments   (20)
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I find it ironic this article calls us 'consumers'. We are no longer consumers. A consumer has the freedom to choose IF they wish to make a purchase and CHOOSE what product they wish to purchase.
The monstrosity obamacare makes us nothing more than a patron. Told we will spend money and on what. The only choice we have is do we spend money out of our pockets upfront or on the back end.
I will not comply with the governments demand to control my life. Obamacare won't survive if no one allows the control.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
The insurance companies are counting on the money they'll get from the risk Corridor that Obama has promised them during the first few years. I agree with Rubio that that door must be shut. It's dirty politics.
Obummer has no right to be using tax payer dollars to keep people on his side.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's like these morons forgot that we have Obamacare because THEY crafted it and THEY voted for it.

Offer then one fix only: full repeal.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
OBAMA'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO DO THESE THINGS!

Where is the media outrage that used to be directed at W when *he* "over-extended his authority"?....
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
This demonstrates Obama's following of Caesar Augustus, Louis XIV, and Frank Hague, the long-time boss of Jersey city. "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus---", "L'etat, c'est moi", "I am the Law". Some things just don't change, do they? Ahh, yes. What's the point of having this wonderful Constitution if we can't just tear it up whenever we like?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
They do not care about their constituents, its (ALL) about their reelection and nothing else. If they care at all they will get the government out of insurance all together and leave us alone.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
This latest proclamation from Obama puts the insurance companies in quite a pickle. The administration is saying they will get around the requirement of the Obamacare statutes by exercising discretion regarding the enforcement of this particular provision.

If I were an insurance company executive that would make me very nervous. It is saying "You can violate the law and we'll look the other way. Until we decide NOT to look the other way." Oh Boy.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The hubris of the Democrat Leftist knows no bounds. Tom Harkin has the chutzpah to say: In most cases ... those receiving cancellation notices will find that “the coverage that they were paying good money for is not worth the paper it was printed on." First of all, how does he know that? That's an individual's decision to make, not his. Also, if most people find their insurance is not to their liking, they can change it. People do have in brain in their heads, senator.
Harkin and his ilk remind me of Henry Ford and his statement that America can have any color car it wants so long as its black. In this case, it's America can have any health care plan it wants so long as it comes with all sort of bells and whistles most people don't need.
Finally, one more thought: We have observed that governments can't even fix potholes properly. Now that's a relatively simple task. How in the world can we expect government to do something as complicated as healthcare properly?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
ObamaCare: Bad Medicine For A Sick Nation

“An error lurking in the roots of a system of thought does not become truth simply by being evolved.” - John Frederick Peifer

Credit to President Obama and a Democratic Congress. In 2010, they succeeded in giving Americans so-called healthcare reform, politically-motivated and politically-manipulated instead of scientifically-based and scientifically-driven. Now come the inescapable consequences.

Do politicians, either Democrats or Republicans, really want to deliver optimal medical care? Doubtful.

In 1994, after the justifiable defeat of the Democrats’ Marxist-like ClintonCare, did the Republicans pursue a comprehensive, scientifically-based review of medical delivery in America? Did they formulate an explicit plan to deliver optimal medical care to all Americans that would be affordable and constitutional? In 1996, in a presidential election against Clinton, did they even expose the previously documented lies that he had told the American public? (1)

No. Instead, they adopted a politically-motivated patchwork-approach catering to specific groups that only worsened a bad situation. Then, they passed power back to the Democrats in 2006 and 2008. Now, they have some power again and claim to have seen the light. What light?

How about this light? Universal, basic coverage. Single-payer. Private sector. Competition. Scientifically-based and scientifically-driven. Constitutional. Acceptable to most third-party payers.

Would Republicans support such a plan today? Doubtful. If they’d supported it when they had it in their power in 1994 to do so, we might not have ObamaCare today (www.inescapableconsequences.com).

1. Moss, GR: Healthcare Reform D.O.A. Beverly Hills CA: LifeMAX Press (1994).
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bio, you throw around a bunch of proposed concepts for solving the problem that are not compatible. The major one is "single payer." When you have "single payer", you end up with "single decision maker" which means no alternatives when the decision on a proposed treatment is not in your favor. Does the term "death panels" have a familiar ring? The remainder of your concepts can be part of a workable system, if you also include the ability to select the level of coverage wanted, select the levels of co-pay and annual deductible the policy owner is willing to absorb, removal of all mandated freebies, and tort reform, to reduce the medical service cost distortions for excessive testing and malpractice insurance. Another area that needs to be examined for medical cost reductions is currently required federal medical record keeping and reporting.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not polishing a turd, but guilding a turd would be more like it. The whole thing should be flushed. This guilded turd will cost everyone. Medicare recipients should not feel that they are uneffected, the empoyed and job seekers should be concerned. The entire economy will be shaken negatively due to this massive stealth tax increase and wealth transfer. Now we have the Executive issueing law. WTF! Is anyone going to say anything about that?
What a collosal mess.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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