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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Escape From ObamaCare -- Review & Outlook, The Wall Street Journal

The GOP starts to offer Americans a better alternative. 

The Affordable Care Act appears to be misfiring in every imaginable way, and Democrats are having second thoughts about serving as human shields for White House ineptitude. If they really want to make amends, they'll join Republicans in trying to repair some of the damage they caused.

The first act of penance is modest legislation the House will vote on Friday that would try to honor President Obama's promise that people who liked their insurance could keep it. The one-page bill would allow insurers to continue offering for sale in 2014 the policies that ObamaCare terminated, exempting them from federal regulatory edicts.

The Keep Your Plan Act is poorly titled. Nearly all 2013 plans cannot be renewed next year even in the absence of federal obstacles. Insurers obeyed the law, and unlike the feds they prepared competently for years for ObamaCare's debut.

They thus shut down the plans they were told to shut down and set new rates in expectation of the new rules and mandates—a complex process that takes months to plan, negotiate with doctors and hospitals and earn state approval. Reinstating plans, to the extent possible, would be difficult to price amid the insurance market convulsions ObamaCare is causing.

Still, insurance regulation was largely a state obligation before ObamaCare, and the GOP bill is a useful federalist housekeeping. Insurance commissioners in states with refugee crises in their individual markets could work with the companies they regulate to make a stopgap accommodation.
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