Chris Jennings, a top adviser to President Barack Obama who played a key part in the rollout of his signature healthcare law, is leaving the White House for health and family reasons, an aide told Reuters.
Jennings, who previously served in the Clinton administration, was brought on board last year before the flawed rollout of the program created one of the biggest political problems Obama has faced since entering office.
Moody’s Investor Service has changed its outlook for the U.S. health care insurance sector from stable to negative, citing Obamacare’s rollout and the uncertainty it brings.
The private credit rating agency said potential fallout from the Affordable Care Act’s implementation — including changes to the individual market and the impact of the law’s “employer mandate” on commercial group plans in January 2015 — presents the greatest challenge to health insurers’ credit profile. Lower reimbursement rates among Medicare Advantage plans also are creating financial pressure, it said.
“While all of these issues had been on our radar screen as we approached 2014, a new development and a key factor for the change in outlook is the unstable and evolving regulatory environment under which the sector is operating,” Moody’s said. “Notably, new regulations and presidential announcements over the last several months with respect to the ACA have imposed operational changes well after product and pricing decisions had been finalized.”
Of course, with this administration, the hits flow in both directions: “Sounds to me like it’s time for a threatening phone call,” Allahpundit writes, linking to the White House’s earlier attempt to rough up Moody’s competitor S&P. Plus note this:
Why play this shell game of moving around deadlines and granting exemptions in 2013 to protect the party if they’re going to sit idly by while millions upon millions of people are booted from their employer plans in an election year? This is the deeper point of the Moody’s downgrade: The insurance industry is now essentially a political creature, and politics can change quickly. How’s an investor supposed to assess risk if he or she can’t know whether the president might need to knock over the chessboard at any given moment for his own political interests? Even if you think Obama and the Democrats are so invested in O-Care’s success that they’ll find a way to keep federal money flowing to prop it up, the lingering bitterness after the law was passed on party lines and the recurring fact of potentially game-changing elections means it’ll be years before the industry enjoys real stability. And yet, in partnering with O on sweeping reform in the expectation that it would bring them millions of new customers, this is what insurers signed up for. They bought the ticket. Hope they’re enjoying the ride.
Obligatory Allahpundit-style exit question — and a possible answer — “So What Was The Point of Obamacare Again?”
Related: “Lawlessness has consequences.”