That didn’t take long.
Merely a month after the Obamacare exchanges launched, President Obama effectively conceded their failure and probable demise. All of the warnings from people like me who read and understood the bill are no longer theoretical, but are being vindicated now that major parts of the law have become reality.
Make no mistake about it: President Obama would not have announced that insurance plans canceled due to Obamacare’s requirements could be reissued unless he believed that the exchanges were unlikely to work and achieve sustainable enrollment numbers. Whether the exchanges can be operational soon enough for this enrollment period is still uncertain, but early numbers suggest that not enough young and healthy customers will sign up, especially in light of a terrible rollout and the sticker and access shock people are seeing from the offered Obamacare plans.
There are other serious questions to consider than the enrollment numbers. First, is President Obama actually going to have the HHS and IRS enforce Obamacare by allowing canceled and non-compliant insurance plans? Second, does the text of the statute even allow President Obama to do this without Congressional authorization?
Will insurance companies even be able to reisusse those plans at this point (some state insurance commissioners are saying no, and some states have notification requirements that can’t be met this late in the year)? How much would an allowance of non-compliant insurance plans undermine the new plans with higher-risk customers? Would a person with a non-compliant plan still be taxed by Obamacare? President Obama made an attempt to shift blame to insurance companies that can’t or won’t reissue canceled plans, but he created a mess of uncertainty by unilaterally contradicting his own law. He sees a disaster and is now in blame mode.
There are plenty of reasons for Democrats to panic about Obamacare. The law is crumbling, and quickly. If the insurance exchanges fail, then they will be added to a pile that includes long-term care (CLASS Act), the 1099 tax requirement, and the employer mandate. What would be left of Obamacare other than Medicare cuts and Medicaid expansion, and would the remainder of the law be something to celebrate?
I don’t think many people would say yes, but then again, I’ve predicted and warned about this failure from the beginning.