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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ACA and " improvisational government"

 Daily, both in the main stream press and in the blogger world, more and more ACA bad news is reported and dissected. But the cancelled policies and the sticker shock, and the shrinking of provider networks  and insurance policy formularies may not be the most frightening aspect of the Affordable Care Act.
"... the most harrowing aspect of Obamacare is that it vests political executives and government administrators with sweeping discretionary power, free of conventional checks and balances. It gives federal officials the authority to set insurance prices without any of the economic and legal standards that govern regulation of public utilities...
Collaterally, Obamacare is introducing a new form of government​—​improvisational government, characterized by continuous ad hoc revisions of statutory law by executive decree. This is a reversion to a primitive form that long antedates our Constitution and rule-of-law traditions. Transported to the modern world, it leaves the private sector in a state of constant uncertainty and subjection."

The above quote is from Chris Demuth writing in the Weekly Standard.. See here for the entire article. Forget Rule of Law, Obamacare is being administered by the rule of men often with the driving motivation being political, minimizing or delaying the bill's harmful effects until after the 2014 election. H/T to the economist John H. Cochrane,aka the Grumpy Economist. See here.

ACA could be described as the "improv health care bill".If provision X of ACA stipulates that this or that be enacted as of a date certain, no problem provision X can be postponed ( until after the next election) . If folks are having their insurance policies cancelled, no problem just postpone those cancellations or more recently pressure the insurers to provide free care. for awhile at least.See here for the latest edict from HHS.If the letter of the law of ACA provides subsidies only under the exchanges that states establish, no problem, just provide subsidies for the federally established exchanges as well regardless of what the plain language of section 1311 might say. See here for a recent update on the legal aspects of that issue.

Section 3, clause 5 of the US Constitution  ( [the President shall] " take care that the laws be faithfully executed" might as well never be written.

 The talking point of the administration has changed from " if you like your insurance,you can keep it" to" if you are unhappy with some aspect of ACA we'll change it".

The increasingly  strident defenses raised by die hard ACA advocates ring less and less credible as they continue to claim that ACA provides affordable health care to almost everyone. More and more folks being stung with higher payments and fewer benefits makes the "affordable" claim much weaker and does "almost all " now mean everyone but maybe 31 millions.( For the CBO estimate for those not insured under ACA,see here.). With July 4,2012 census estimate of the US population being about 313.93 million, just under 10% of the population would not be covered, not to mention an unknown number of the young and healthy who choose to pay the fine tax rather than insurance premium as well as those who have lost insurance and choose not to buy or cannot afford a policy to replace it.

".. constant uncertainty and subjection" was not was Madison had in mind but that seems to be the promise of Obamacare.

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