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Friday, November 15, 2013

A 'Fix' for Obamacare -- Do Nothing

We can probably stop worrying about Republican Rep. Fred Upton's (R-Blue Cross) "Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013" now.

Buzzfeed: President Obama threatened Thursday to veto a House bill that would allow insurance companies to continue offering existing health plans after millions received cancelation notices due to the Affordable Care Act.

The threat came hours after the president asked health insurance companies to allow individuals to keep their existing, canceled plans for a year.

The “Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013,” sponsored by Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, would allow insurance companies to continue to offer plans that were available before the new Obamacare rules took effect. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Friday and a handful of Democrats were expected to support it.

Obama’s fix allows only individuals whose policies were canceled in 2013 to re-enroll in their plans next year, while the Upton bill would allow insurers to sell the plans to new customers and would not be limited to just one year.
Overriding a presidential veto is an uphill battle in even the best of circumstances, but the idea that enough Democrats would defect to create a two-thirds majority in both houses here doesn't seem at all likely. You can pass a bill in a hurried panic, but the president can sit on it a while and wait for everyone to cool off before he vetoes it. Seriously, this may get a lot of press because of a House vote on the bill today, but it is most probably dead.


And this veto threat throws some cold water on serial turncoat dem Mary Landrieu's companion bill in the Senate. If the votes aren't there to override, Harry Reid may not even bring it to the floor.

So this is how this could pan out: everyone freaks out over something that's a lot simpler than they're making it and backs an insane plan that can only make everything worse. This plan then falls apart and some people turn serious -- in the best case scenario, enough get serious to get something halfway constructive done.

And if they don't? Well, then you've got the status quo. Obamacare and the White House take a few political hits for the team (the President's done getting reelected, he can afford to be a political scapegoat), everyone argues over how terrible everything is, and eventually the whole problem resolves itself as the exchanges start working, people get better insurance, and the clamor fades away. This is the sort of problem that'll eventually fix itself if everyone stops poking at it.

Of course, that's not the best scenario. Those few who actually are having their policies canceled will remain uninsured through no fault of their own and someone really needs to cook up some sort of a Plan B, even if only to help this relative handful of people for a few weeks.

But that aside, this problem is a political one, not a logistical one. This dust up has a built-in shelf life. This is one issue where gridlock would actually work out well for everyone -- except Republicans, of course, who want to sabotage Obamacare at every opportunity. For them, the chance to "fix" Obamacare is a chance to break it. So they shouldn't be given the chance.

If we just sit right where we are, trapped in the stalemate of a broken political system, that's to the Democrat's advantage. Obamacare's rocky rollout won't be an issue in the 2014 elections, because by then everything will be working fine.

All Democrats have to do is to resist the urge to pick at it.


[image by DonkeyHotey]

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