Friday, November 22, 2013


When is the last time that an American president asked to have the law set aside so that presidential credibility might be restored? How about right now?

Even though California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has indicated that California should go along with the president's request to allow older insurance policies that don't meet the required criteria of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to be extended, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee says no dice because the state of California cannot force the insurance companies to grant extensions. Covered California voted 5 to 0 that allowing these older policies to continue would undermine the ACA even though President Obama himself, in a spectacularly furious backpedalling gesture, asked for just that. In so doing the president hoped to restore his diminished credibility when he promised so loudly and so often that if you liked your current doctor or your current policy you could retain either or both.

All the same, as of this writing, the ACA is doing well in California. About 80,000 persons have signed up for policies. Nevertheless,  about 220,000 non-compliant policies in California may be extended despite Peter Lee's exhortations otherwise. The reason, however, isn't as much the presidential plea for mercy as it is the insurance companies' assertions that they didn't have enough time to notify clients and don't have enough time anymore to make necessary adjustments.

By now it has become evident that ACA-compliant policies are likely to cost more than the non-compliant policies they replace -- we've already seen the example of the woman who congratulated the president on Obamacare and then found out that she couldn't afford it and would now be worse off than before when she had a non-compliant policy. Now she has none. Evidently, Peter Lee thinks that "none" is a suitable alternative for her. Lee may turn out to be even more of an ideologue than the president himself. It took a while for the president to acknowledge his mistake, but, in due course, he did just that. Meanwhile the ideologues stomp ahead, trampling opposition, no matter how small and desperate they are.

In general, the idea of insurance for all should take hold, but not in an atmosphere of partisan bickering, party affiliation, and ultimate hypocrisy where Congressional representatives, as one of their perks, may seek medical care at any American military hospital on a "prn" basis.

Yessirree,"prn" is the abbreviation for "pro re nata," which means according to need, their needs, not ours. Once again Congress looks out for itself first. Citizens like us get promises, then dregs, then raised premiums that push the ACA into offering policies that often turn out to cost more than the policies they replace. The risk now is that the ACA will protect us out of more health care than it'll provide in return. We hope not lest the ACA become known as the Unaffordable Care Act (UCA).  

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