The question about the president’s proposed Obamacare “fix” even being constitutional – legal – was being asked in the halls of Congress and on the Internet before President Obama ever stepped in front of the podium Thursday to announce the changes in the implementation of his Affordable Care Act.
Americans have heard terms like “administrative” and “extralegal” applied to the proposed “fix,” but the question remained – including from former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean – how it was possible for the president to change something in a law that Congress enacted?
On Friday evening, Fox News’ James Rosen examined the constitutionality of Obama’s proposed “administrative fix:” Allowing insurance companies to extend current policies for one year.
Rosen referred to the following White House “Fact Sheet: New Administration Proposal to Help Consumers Facing Cancellations” published on Thursday, which cites the “inherent authority of [Health and Human Services] Secretary Kathleen Sebelius,” Rosen reported.
Watch Rosen’s report here via Fox News:
The following is the relevant section from the Fact Sheet noting, in part, that “HHS is using its administrative authority to:”
*Allow insurers to renew their current policies for current enrollees without adopting the 2014 market rule changes. This will give consumers in the individual and small group markets the choice of staying in their plan or joining a new Marketplace plan next year. HHS will consider the impact of this transitional policy in assessing whether to extend it beyond 2014.
*Require insurers offering such renewals to ensure consumers are informed about their options. Specifically, insurers offering these renewals must inform all consumers who either already have or will receive cancellation letters about the protections their renewed plan will not include and how they can learn about the new options available to them through the Marketplaces which will offer better protections and possible financial assistance.
*To protect against the potential impacts this change will have on premiums, HHS will adjust the temporary risk corridor program which is designed to stabilize premiums as changes are implemented.
Whether an individual can keep their current plan will also depend on their insurance company and State insurance commissioner – but today’s action means that it will no longer be implementation of the law that is forcing them to buy a new plan. Turnover is high in the individual market, with 50 to 67 percent of enrollees staying for a year or less. This means that the number of people in these bare-bones policies will decrease over time. As such, this action provides a smoother transition in a market that’s generally used as a bridge by most consumers. And, this action will not allow these older plans to be sold to new customers in 2014, which would undermine the Marketplace and drive up premiums for millions of hard-working Americans. In short, this administration solution will give consumers more information and choices, including keeping their old plans.
Read: Texas single mom’s ‘thanks a lot’ letter to Obama goes viral
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