Fascinating article from the New York Times today.
The Obama administration will soon take on a new role as the sponsor of at least two nationwide health insurance plans to be operated under contract with the federal government and offered to consumers in every state.The article goes on to explain that one of the plans will be not-for-profit. The plans will be arranged by the United States Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the excellent health care plans for federal employees. The best part? A representative from the Heritage Foundation had this to say:
Robert E. Moffit, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said he worried that “the nationwide health plans, operating under terms and conditions set by the federal government, will become the robust public option that liberals always wanted.”This is an executive action, so even if we hold the Senate, Romney can and will kill this at noon on January 20, 2013. All the better reason to GOTV.
Edit 1: Someone asked whether red states can simply block these plans, because the federal plan isn't licensed in those states. Per the article:
To be eligible to participate in the multistate program, insurers must be licensed in every state. The Government Employees Health Association recently bought a company that has the licenses it would need.Edit 2: Rec list? Thanks!
Edit 3: Top of rec list? double thanks. And edited to correct some horrible, horrible grammar in the first edit.
Edit 4: A certain poster keeps commenting that the diary is misleading because the national plan is required by the PPACA, but I said it was through "executive order," and that Romney can't do anything about it. False. The diary says "executive action," and that's what it is.
Nonetheless, this is an important point to address, particularly for someone who is not well versed in the wonder of U.S. administrative law.
For the most part, Congressional legislation paints in broad strokes and does not dwell on details. Congresspeople, believe it or not, are generally inexpert on most subjects. It is therefore up to the administrative agencies to interpret, implement, and enforce the law as it sees it. That's 100% up to the President and his officers, and generally an agency's interpretation of the law is given extreme deference by courts if it is at all reasonable.
Here, the article clearly indicates that the decisions on setting up the plan, using the US OPM and perhaps the Government Employee Health Association, is based on Obama administration decisions. A Romney administration could reverse course, weaken a national health plan, make it useless, cripple it. So yes, the story here is what Obama is doing. Implementation of the PPACA would not be identical under a Romney administration that somehow decided to follow the letter of the PPACA. If everything were preordained by the statute, this story wouldn't be a surprise to the conservative groups and insurance industry lobbyists quoted in it. They certainly know every detail of the legislative language, and what the President is doing makes them very unhappy. Ergo, be happy and GOTV for the President.
Final (?) Edit: Have to go feed the kids. But this should drive the point home. Ask yourself what a Romney administration would "negotiate" here:
The national plans will compete directly with other private insurers and may have some significant advantages, including a federal seal of approval. Premiums and benefits for the multistate insurance plans will be negotiated by the United States Office of Personnel Management, the agency that arranges health benefits for federal employees.