Obamacare Enrollees Face New Restrictions and Regulations


Another day, another Obamacare regulation change. It is the law that can’t survive without changing, and even then, it may not survive much longer.

As new restrictions and regulations are revealed, more pain for consumers is sure to follow. The law’scurrent language would especially confuse Nancy Pelosi, who famously told all and sundry that Congress needed to pass the law so they could read what was in it. The law was so poorly thought out that the law that was passed in 2010 is still being rewritten.

The latest changes keep on rolling out and those announced this week make the terrain of signing up and renewing even more complicated than it was before.

The good thing for Republicans is that Democrats own it, 100 percent of it.

The latest twist in the controversial healthcare law has the the Obama administration considering a regulation that would allow the government to automatically switch your healthcare insurance exchange plan to a different plan, whether you like it or not.

The current, or latest wording of the law, states most exchange enrollees who do not revisit the exchange website are automatically re-enrolled in their current plans when their coverage expires (although a few states don’t allow automatic renewal). It is the latest alteration that has now reached over 40 changes since its inception in 2010. But is it legal?

According to the Obama administration, the “proposed” regulation from the Department of Health and Human Services would provide exchange enrollees with two choices. They can signal they want to re-enroll in their current plan or they can give the government the power to change them to a cheaper plan if their current plan’s premiums rise.

“A cheaper plan” may have a serious downside to it, not only because a bureaucrat will make your decision for you, but also because it may come with a complete change of covered doctors, none of whom you like, and they may not be conveniently located.

Medical insurance experts have no doubt this will result in a sizable increase in costs for all Obamacare enrollees, even for “cheaper” plans.

The new proposed regulation says state exchanges can “offer” these same choices in 2016, with the federally-run exchanges to follow in 2017.

The second choice, which allows the government to choose your Obamacare plan feels like it is a lifetime away from 2010 when Obamacare was in its infancy. Clearly, if the government can now switch your healthcare insurance plan, you are effectively allowing the government to control your life.

It is safe to say that “this suggested change in the law is a far cry from the ‘if you like your plan you can keep it’ pledge,” notes the Cato Institute. The real catch is that many enrollees will pay more if they renew automatically. If you are an exchange participant, you come out losing either way.

Average premiums will rise 9.5 percent according to the New York Times. A recent Gallup poll says 68 percent of respondents said they intend to renew their current plan.

The Obamacare law has come a long way since its inception, and there have been many changes. Those changes are not, nor will they ever be, enrollee friendly. The suggested new rules may reach a stone wall with the swearing in of the new Republican-majority Congress, and there may be serious headwinds in the shape of the coming Supreme Court rulings on the validity of large portions of the law that now exist.

So far, Obamacare’s most enthusiastic supporter, Rep. Nancy Pelosi has not made a comment about this proposed change One must wonder what her private opinion is on the dozens of changes to the law since 2010. It could be that she has not even noticed there have been any changes.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. His BS in journalism from University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.

Dwight has 30 years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. A native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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