Newest ObamaCare Delay Further Politicizes Medicine
The Hill is reporting that the Obama administration will extend for an additional year the ability of insurance companies to offer consumers plans that do not comply with Obamacare requirements. The current one-year extension is set to expire in October of this year, about a month before the 2014 midterm elections.
It is universally acknowledged that the reason for the extended extension is so that Democrats up for reelection can avoid having to explain to voters why the cheaper insurance plans they like are being canceled and replaced with more expensive options.
As one insurance industry source told The Hill, “I don’t see how they could have a bunch of these [cancellation] announcements going out in September, [n]ot when they’re trying to defend the Senate and keep their losses at a minimum in the House. This is not something to have out there right before the election.”
When the legality of a person’s health insurance depends on the timing of a political campaign, it’s obvious that health care has become politicized.
But while subjecting millions of Americans’ insurance plans to the expediency of a political party is certainly bad, the fact that no year seems to be a good year to fully implement Obamacare offers something like a silver lining. The whole point of terminating non-compliant insurance plans between October 2013 and January 2014 was to inflict maximum damage a year before voters went to the polls. The thinking was that other issues would eventually overshadow the anger and price spikes, allowing Democrats to avoid the consequences of entrenching their favorite policy.
Going forward, it’s hard to see how the Obama administration won’t become addicted to its own avoidance behavior. Though barred from seeking a third term in office, Obama will be under enormous pressure from Hillary Clinton and other Democratic presidential candidates, as well as members of Congress, to continue delaying enforcement until after the 2016 elections. After all, letting Obamacare go into effect will provide Republicans with a perfect campaign issue. Why not keep it off the table?
However, if that’s the tack they take it paves the way for another GOP line of attack – If Obamacare is too horrid to live with before an election, it certainly can’t be tolerated after.
After years of politicizing medicine by not enforcing its own law, the Obama administration may succeed in convincing Americans that Obamacare isn’t worth the pain it will inflict.