Democrats try to save Obamacare by delaying it yet again

Thursday, March 06, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Obamacare, Democrats, delays

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(NaturalNews) The political realities of Obamacare are beginning to be more fully understood by the party that brought America one of the most divisive, industry-destroying laws in the nation's history.

Once again, in another act of judicial defiance, say critics, President Obama has authorized new delays in key aspects of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. According to a blog post at The Hill online, Congress' daily newspaper of record, the delay in required coverage minimums mandated by the law is a naked political calculation to assist vulnerable Democrats facing reelection in November:

The Obama administration is set to announce another major delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act, easing election pressure on Democrats.

As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare's minimum coverage requirements.

The delay is meant to mitigate anger among some voters who have lost their plans because they did not meet Obamacare's new extensive coverage requirements, such as provisions requiring even single men to have a plan that covers maternity care and contraceptives.

So, what happens if insurance companies refuse to go along?

Millions of Americans who lost plans were confused, and then frustrated, when they received cancellation notices last fall, in advance of the mandate's anticipated Jan. 1 start date, citing multiple occasions over the years when the president and Democrats in Congress promised that Americans who like their plans could keep their plans.

But what is likely more frustrating for the president's rivals is the blatant political intent of the delay, as noted by The Hill:

The cancellations would have created a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day.

The White House is intent on protecting its allies in the Senate, where Democrats face a battle to keep control of the chamber.

Under Obamacare, insurance companies are required to send out cancellation notices three months prior to the date of cancellation; political operatives in the Democratic Party and White House figured out that, in many cases, these would come just days and weeks before voters go to the polls.

"I don't see how they could have a bunch of these announcements going out in September," one consultant in the health insurance industry told The Hill. "Not when they're trying to defend the Senate and keep their losses at a minimum in the House. This is not something to have out there right before the election."

But what about the insurance industry? Right now, despite the president's planned delay, the actual text of the law says that they must offer a basic coverage package mandated by the government. So, what kind of legal liability would they be in for selling what the administration and Obamacare supporters have called "substandard plans" in the past?

There is no good answer for that, and that has left the industry in a quandary; if the administration announces the delay, do they really have to comply? What happens if they don't?

New announcement said 'imminent'

Some legal analysts have said it is unlikely that the government would sue insurance companies that fail to comply with the Executive Branch's edict, because in essence the government would be arguing a position that is not codified in law. And there are no "wiggle room" provisions in Obamacare, only hard-and-fast deadlines and mandates.

And besides, analysts say, any changes to the law must originate in Congress and then be signed by Obama, as per the normal legislative process (and the same process which brought us Obamacare to begin with).

Neither the administration nor the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees implementation of the law, have said they have new announcements regarding Obamacare. But, as reported by The Hill:

The administration's decision to pursue another extension was confirmed by insurance sources who predicted a public announcement would be "imminent." It is unclear how long the extension will be, though one source believed it could last to the end of Obama's second term, and perhaps beyond.

This issue is sure to be discussed during the 2016 presidential race, in which Hillary Clinton is expected to run.





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