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'Keeping the Pressure on Obamacare'

7:20 AM, Nov 21, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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James C. Capretta, writing for National Review Online:

The Obamacare implementation disaster is far worse than even the most pessimistic critics predicted before the October 1 launch. The fiasco that has been on full public display for the past two months is so bad for the president and his party that it will have lasting political and policy effects, no matter what Republicans do at this point. But that doesn’t mean the GOP should be complacent. With the health-care law now more vulnerable than ever, Republicans in Congress should keep the pressure on to hasten its demise and pave the way for a far better alternative.

The first order of business remains thinking through what to do about canceled individual-market policies. Prior to last week, it would have been unthinkable that the White House would unilaterally adopt a policy allowing millions of people to stay in their individual-insurance plans in 2014. After all, notwithstanding that famous presidential pledge, a major focus of Obamacare is the termination of the individual insurance market and the shifting of that market’s participants into the Obamacare exchanges in 2014. An escape route that allows large numbers of current individual-insurance enrollees to avoid the exchanges in 2014 (even one with its own set of traps) raises the very real possibility that the exchanges will falter before they ever get started.

This does not mean that the GOP should be applauding the White House’s supposed “fix.” For starters, the administration’s plan is completely lawless, as many others have noted. The president has not altered any regulations or asked Congress to provide a carve-out for the 2013 insurance plans. He instead announced he would not enforce the law for a year, which the administration claims should be enough for state regulators and the insurance industry to reopen the canceled plans.

Of course, this is not the way to run the government. In the near term, it’s not at all clear that states and insurers aren’t still exposed legally. What if an insurance enrollee sues an insurer for not providing an Obamacare-required benefit? Would that have standing in court? Who knows?

The administration’s “fix” also comes with a lot of unwelcome Obamacare political baggage. The administration is shamelessly using its regulatory leverage to compel free advertising for its failing health law. In letters to enrollees, insurers opting to reopen their closed plans are required to include information that is clearly intended to promote Obamacare and the insurance plans sold on the exchanges.

Whole thing here.

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