Egberto Willies for Daily Kos:
The president said, "Insurers can extend current plans that otherwise would be canceled into 2014 and Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan." He then said, "This fix won't solve every problem for every person, but it's going to help a lot of people. Doing more would require work with Congress."
The presidents fix allows insurance companies to extend the cancelled policies even if they do not conform to the Affordable Care Act for one year. The insurance companies cannot enroll new customers into the substandard policies. The insurance companies are also required to inform the purchasers of these substandard policies that they may qualify for federal subsidies only through the exchanges. They must disclose that these policies do not have the consumer protections that all new insurance policies must have. They must also inform them that they may qualify for Medicaid,
President Obama tells insurance companies they have the freedom to extend the policies but cannot force them. That removes the narrative of Obama/government takeover of your health care. He forces insurance transparency by requiring insurance companies to come clean on their substandard policies relative to the Affordable Care Act. In doing this the American citizens purchasing these policies know upfront that they are purchasing junk.
The fact that many will now have the comparison and the knowledge that there may be subsidies on the exchange will limit the size of that insurance market. This means it is unlikely many insurance companies will bite. There are some people who will not get subsidies, will not have policies extended by insurance companies, and will be upset that they will pay higher rates. The president put the onus of fixing that on working with Congress. Congress can choose to engage or not. Not engaging becomes a new campaign direction for Democrats.
I haven't been a huge fan of President Obama's and particularly not of his "negotiating" techniques, but I thought from the beginning that this was a genius move: laying the blame for those canceled health insurance policies right where it should be, with the companies that issued, and then canceled them.
Bravo, Mr President!