Egberto Willies for Daily Kos:
The president said, "Insurers can extend current plans that otherwise would be canceled into 2014 and Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan." He then said, "This fix won't solve every problem for every person, but it's going to help a lot of people. Doing more would require work with Congress."
The presidents fix allows insurance companies to extend the cancelled policies even if they do not conform to the Affordable Care Act for one year. The insurance companies cannot enroll new customers into the substandard policies. The insurance companies are also required to inform the purchasers of these substandard policies that they may qualify for federal subsidies only through the exchanges. They must disclose that these policies do not have the consumer protections that all new insurance policies must have. They must also inform them that they may qualify for Medicaid,
President Obama tells insurance companies they have the freedom to extend the policies but cannot force them. That removes the narrative of Obama/government takeover of your health care. He forces insurance transparency by requiring insurance companies to come clean on their substandard policies relative to the Affordable Care Act. In doing this the American citizens purchasing these policies know upfront that they are purchasing junk.
The fact that many will now have the comparison and the knowledge that there may be subsidies on the exchange will limit the size of that insurance market. This means it is unlikely many insurance companies will bite. There are some people who will not get subsidies, will not have policies extended by insurance companies, and will be upset that they will pay higher rates. The president put the onus of fixing that on working with Congress. Congress can choose to engage or not. Not engaging becomes a new campaign direction for Democrats.
I haven't been a huge fan of President Obama's and particularly not of his "negotiating" techniques, but I thought from the beginning that this was a genius move: laying the blame for those canceled health insurance policies right where it should be, with the companies that issued, and then canceled them.
Bravo, Mr President!
As I understand it, that ship has sailed. The filibuster rule can be changed by simple majority vote, but only on the first day of a new session--i.e. every two years. That day has passed.
Tragically, Harry Reid let the opportunity to redress some imbalances slip, and now the country will suffer at least two MORE years of gridlock and inaction.
At the very least, we should require talking filibusters. If a senator opposes a bill or action, let him stand up and show it, and be judged for it. As it stands, 40 senators from our 20 smallest states, representing roughly 10% of the population, could block legislation from even coming to a vote. Or the minority party, working in lockstep, can block anything at all. Without effort, or a price to pay for obstructionism.
Secret holds are even worse. One senator can prevent a bill coming to a vote.
The Senate is already profoundly anti-democratic, with a senator from California (pop. 38,000,000 or 11%) having the same voice as one from Wyoming (pop. 576,000 or .18%.
We desperately needed reform in the Senate rules, Harry Reid needed to get that done, and he didn't. Instead he walked away with a "gentlemen's agreement." As if anyone on the other side of the aisle could be trusted to keep it. IMHO Reid should step down and let someone who can actually do the job take over.