Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Toothpaste and the ObamaTax

It seems that Our Betters in Capital City never learn. Four years ago, they rammed through a piece of legislation with virtually no input from folks with actual industry experience. We've seen the results: "no, you can't keep your insurance."

Now various Congresscritters, in an effort to at least mitigate the damage wrought by  that broken promise, are proposing bills to allow - or force - insurance companies to rescind all these cancellations.

The latest twist is in California, whose Insurance Commissioner has forced Blue Cross to delay 104,000 such cancellations to February.

Here's the problem with all of this:

It's one thing if an insurer erroneously cancels your policy: that can be fixed via a simple reinstatement form. But it's quite another thing when the insurer must cancel an entire policy form - that is, the actual block of business - because the Federal law has deemed it unacceptable ("substandard").

Here are the two primary challenges I see:

First, it puts state Insurance Commissioners in direct conflict with Federal law. This isn't a simple (and unlawful) waiver: it's a direct and explicit flaunting of ACA. In short, it pits the Supremacy Clause against the 10th Amendment. It will be, um, interesting to see how that plays out.

Second, and more critical, is a very simple question. Yesterday, Bob wrote  about "the House supported "If you like your health care plan you can keep it" offering," to which I commented "How?" And that is the only question that really matters. How can the government force carriers to re-file cancelled policy forms, and how do they handle the immediate problem that these plans are unlawful under the ObamaTax?

I just don't see how they put that toothpaste back in the tube.

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