Good news: There's extra day to sign up. Bad news: It shows just how hard this is.
People losing their insurance is a bigger story, unfortunately, than people getting insurance for the first time.
The House just passed Fred Upton’s bill. He calls it the “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” because its ostensible purpose is to make sure people losing their existing health plans can keep them. It might or might not have that effect. But an equally accurate description would be “Go Back to the Old Lousy Health Care System Act.” Under its provisions, insurers could keep denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, continue selling policies that have huge gaps, and so on.
President Obama on Thursday announced a new administration initiative designed to help that small portion of Americans whose insurers are cancelling existing policies.It’s not clear how much impact it will actually have, which means many (and probably most) of the people losing coverage aren’t likely to get those same policies back. But it appears the plan does minimal damage to the rest of Obamacare, which means the millions of people about to get insurance for the first time—or get cheaper, more comprehensive coverage than they had before—will still get those benefits.
Five reasons a Congressional fix will be destructive
Bill Clinton has been one of Obamacare’s most effective advocates—the "Secretary of Explaining Things," as President Obama famously called him. But in a new interview already getting attention and sure to get more, Clinton didn't explain things very well. He made a statement that's likely to create some misimpressions about the possibilities of health care reform, while giving the administration and its allies yet another political headache. But maybe it's also an opportunity to have a serious conversation about the law's tradeoffs—the one that should have happened a while ago.
"I would jump at it"
If you’ve followed the stories of insurance cancellations related to Obamacare, you may have heard about Dianne Barrette. She’s the 57-year-old Florida realtor who was paying $54 a month for a Blue Cross insurance plan. The plan won’t be available after December. And while FloridaBlue offered her a new plan, the company told her the premium would be $591 a month. Barrette, who makes $30,000 a year and could not pay for such a plan, was flabbergasted.
You’re a 26-year-old single dude, holding down a pair of part-time jobs tending bar and painting houses, and making about $24,000 a year. Thanks to Obamacare, you can finally get decent health insurance, just like people with full-time jobs at large companies do. But when you go online to check out your options, you see that even the cheapest “bronze” plan, which has high deductibles and co-payments, will cost you about $100 a month. Obamacare’s penalty for carrying no insurance next year is less than one-tenth of that. Do you buy the insurance anyway?
The latest state to publish insurance rates under Obamacare is Maryland. The results seem consistent with the pattern we’ve seen so far. When state officials want the law to work, it works pretty well. And Maryland officials want the law to work.
Obamacare got some bad news late Thursday afternoon. State officials in Indiana announced that premiums for residents buying insurance on their own next year would be 72 percent higher than the premiums such people typically pay this year. They also announced that the typical cost for an individual plan next year would be $570, up from $255 this year.