President Obama wants to unring the bell.
He was dishonest in promoting the Affordable Care Act. He repeatedly promised Americans that if they liked their health-care coverage, they would be able to keep it. But millions are getting their insurance coverage canceled as a result of the federal health-care law.
Now he says he’s going to make it all good by allowing insurance companies to continue offering insurance that doesn’t meet the “Obamacare” mandates for a year, so long as they also tell consumers how the policies fall short of the mark.
Call that what it is: a lame attempt to shift focus from himself to the insurance companies.
The president’s new promise doesn’t repair the damage of his false one. He didn’t go around the country saying people who like their coverage could keep it for one year He said they could keep it. They can’t.
Further, anyone who looks closely at the situation recognizes at this point that there is no practical way to fix the damage. Insurance is a contract between a company and an individual. The government regulates, but it doesn’t control it. The federal government can’t make the insurance companies offer deals that they aren’t interested in extending because of the federal government’s policy decisions.
Insurance companies have made their decisions on the basis of the “Obamacare” environment and those rates and policies have been approved by state regulators. At this point, there’s no getting back to the beginning of that process.
If it could be done, the effect would be to drive up insurance costs for everyone else because low-risk insurance clients would be removed from the new “Obamacare” coverage pool.
In a Thursday press conference, the president was contrite and took responsibility for the failures of the health-care law that has taken his name, which is refreshing, if insufficient.
Short of getting in his time machine and going back 3 1/2 years to repair the flaws in the Affordable Care Act and then rewriting the tag line he repeatedly delivered, the president can’t fix this one.
The bell has rung, Mr. President. You can’t stop its sound waves from traveling through space and time.
— Tulsa World