Announcing plans to extend the grandfather clause of the Affordable Care Act to include subpar insurance policies issued after the signing of the healthcare reform bill, President Obama also added onto his apology from last week by fully recognizing his Administration’s failure to executive key reforms effectively, most notably the launch of the Healthcare Marketplace website. Humility is rarely rewarded in the heat of the moment. It does, however, make people more sympathetic to your plight and supportive of your efforts to fix your follies.
That said, the changes President Obama announced in his news briefing are subject to heightened scrutiny. Those who expected to keep their old insurance coverage at the same rates will likely still not be able to do so. Quite frankly, government sets policies that influence what business decisions can be made; it does not make business decisions. Regrettably, extending the grandfather clause to cancelled and additional subpar health plans seems to be more of an effort to appease anger over a poorly communicate promise rather than a sound, effective policy decision.
If individuals facing an insurance cancellation cannot use alternative methods and/or healthcare.gov to purchase a new policy, they might have to go without insurance while cost increases are a major problem for those living on limited budgets. This is the policy concern that must be addressed.
Furthermore, the one thing President Obama did well in his press conference was to defend the need for the Affordable Care Act in spite of the rocky start and the shortcomings in the laws that our Legislative Branch is not working to address. Clearly, the Affordable Care Act was never designed to address all of the issues with our healthcare system while lobbyists certainly did their part to make sure Obamacare served their special interests at the cost complicating the bill and limiting its effectiveness.
It is important to remember when the Affordable Care Act was voted into law President Obama called for additional reforms to resolve issues that were not addressed by the major legislative effort, but Legislators focused on the struggle to undercut Obamacare. As such, Congress needs to work on new reforms as it should have been doing since March, 2010. Of course, this can only take place once the impending fiscal disaster is averted through the passage of a Budget, tax reforms, spending cuts, and debt ceiling increase.
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