There's lot of analysis -- most of it not very deep -- about the fact that the Affordable Care Act sets minimum coverage requirements for health insurance plans. As a result, some policies are being cancelled and consumers get a new suite of plans to choose from that cover far more than their previous overpriced, garbage plans.
David Firestone at The New York Times explains:
The so-called cancellation letters waved around at yesterday’s hearing were simply notices that policies would have to be upgraded or changed. Some of those old policies were so full of holes that they didn’t include hospitalization, or maternity care, or coverage of other serious conditions.
Republicans were apparently furious that government would dare intrude on an insurance company’s freedom to offer a terrible product to desperate people.
“Some people like to drive a Ford, not a Ferrari,” said Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. “And some people like to drink out of a red Solo cup, not a crystal stem. You’re taking away their choice.”
Luckily, a comprehensive and affordable insurance policy is no longer a Ferrari; it is now a basic right. In the face of absurd comments and analogies like this one, Ms. Sebelius never lost her cool in three-and-a-half hours of testimony, perhaps because she knows that once the computer problems and the bellowing die down, the country will be far better off.
From a letter to the editor in The Hartford Courant
by Pam Bergren
They are trash policies that would have left policy-holders paying thousands out of their own pockets at time of claims. Non-guaranteed renewable, limited in benefit coverage, no preventive care, and most have absolutely no drug coverage. The maximum limit of coverage, which is a lifetime maximum, and is soon reached in this day and age.
The insurance companies issuing these policies knew they had three years to comply with the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, and they decided this was the way to get rid of that line of business, and rack up more premiums on better plans. The small percentage of people whose policies are being canceled should really thank God that it is forcing them to re-look at what they have in the way of health care. Most don't even know they had inferior policies they were paying for.
Let's bring this country of under-insureds up to normal and reasonable limits for the 21st century.
emphasizes that there's still time for the site's glitches and upgrades to be worked out:
Many of these [cancelled] policies offer little coverage and impose substantial out-of-pocket costs that discourage regular doctor visits. The Affordable Care Act exchanges and subsidies will offer many people better insurance at a lower cost.
Still, it was careless, at best, for Obama to make that unqualified keep-your-insurance promise — and make it so many times — without explaining the fine print. So now, he not only has to convince people that the Web site will eventually work, he also must counter his opponents’ allegations that he was less than honest about the true impact of his signature domestic accomplishment.
The word “debacle” does fit the rollout. But the policy itself is sound, and eventually all the noise will fade. The first weeks of Obamacare will be forgotten. The first months will become a footnote. The first years are what will matter.
And The Olympian
Both the federal and state governments can do better. A deliberate and comprehensive overhaul of the federal website is needed, including a security review and abandoning the hub architecture model — providing personal information before browsing. That’s backward to private online retailers. Also, the federal government’s cumbersome contracting rules deter the best and brightest, and should be streamlined.
That said, the responsible reaction for implementation of ACA from Congress should be how lawmakers can assist to implement the policy they approved.
When a private company rolls out a new product, webpage or otherwise, it does so without mandated deadlines or resource-diverting hearings designed to undermine credibility of the decision. Let’s move on to fixing problems and leave assigning blame behind.
More the day's top stories below the fold.