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EDITORIAL: Obamacare woes beg for repeal


We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” In the case of the Affordable Care Act, it’s going to get worse before it gets worse still. Millions of people are learning they can’t keep their current individual plans, tens of millions more could be in the same boat at this time next year when the law’s employer mandate kicks in, and hardly anyone is buying expensive Obamacare-compliant policies.

Now President Barack Obama is trying to put the genie back in the bottle. He held a tedious Thursday news conference to announce that he’s directing insurance companies to allow those millions who have lost coverage the option to renew their old policies for one more year. This is yet another executive mandate that overrides the oft-repeated talking point from Obamacare supporters that the Affordable Care Act is “settled law” and “the law of the land.” It sure is, except when it’s expedient to delay the parts that are politically problematic — and there are many such parts.

The enrollment numbers show the public is not on board with Obamacare. On Wednesday, the White House announced that a meager 26,794 people purchased plans through healthcare.gov in the first month, while approximately 80,000 bought coverage on statewide exchanges. That includes a paltry 513 on the Nevada exchange, according to a Wednesday report by the Review-Journal’s Jennifer Robison. Ms. Robison reported in September that the state exchange’s goal for enrollees in 2014 is 118,000.

All this for a law created to insure the uninsured. Instead, in one month’s time, around 100,000 policies have been sold while millions of Americans on the individual market have had their policies canceled. The law has left the insured uninsured, the president’s purported fix notwithstanding.

Congressional Democrats can’t run away from this mess fast enough, as evidenced by the number of partisans proposing or supporting legislation to let individuals keep their current plans — which led to the president’s Hail Mary on Thursday. At this point, however, it’s impossible to fix that broken promise. The insurance industry, which has spent all year entirely remodeling plans to become Obamacare compliant, can’t turn it all back around in just 45 days and is furious with being scapegoated into trying to do so. An industry insider told BuzzFeed.com, “This doesn’t change anything other than force insurers to be the political flak jackets for the administration.”

Said Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans: “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.”

As the guys in those Guinness commercials would say, “Brilliant!” Obamacare policy premiums in many cases were already going to cost significantly more money; this “fix” could cause even bigger increases. The law is so deeply flawed, with so many components in direct conflict with one another, that tweaking just one part will accelerate its collapse.

The Obamacare debacle is just getting started — and it only gets worse from here. Repeal and replace.

 

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