With every passing day the questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) seem to get more convoluted.
Thursday, President Obama said that people who like their nonconforming health insurance policies can keep them for one more year. Many said the president had broken his oft-repeated promise that "If you like your plan, you can keep it. Period."
Now he says you can keep it for one more year. That immediately raises some questions:
1. What if the insurance companies that have already sent out cancellation notices to millions of people do not want the hassle of reinstituting the policies for the promise of one more year's premiums? Is the government going to force the companies to offer them?
2. At the end of the year, the problem of vastly increased premiums to purchase a conforming policy is not going to disappear for many Americans. Is a one-year respite an answer to their pleas? Or is this like the federal budget process - is the president kicking the can down the road? Is this simply a temporary ploy to stop the steep drop in his approval rating?
3. The incredibly few people (less than 28,000) who were able to sign up on the healthcare.gov website in October spells long-term trouble for the program. Who is going to underwrite the insurance for high-risk citizens if the 7 million mixture of healthy and ill participants called for as the basis in the law is not met? Will everyone's premiums simply be allowed to skyrocket to cover the shortfall?
The president repeated that he is not happy with the rollout of the ACA. If it is any consolation to him, nobody is.
As we wrote a couple of weeks ago, the administration is running out of time to get the details of this law right. Stories Wednesday said the website may not be completely fixed as promised by the end of November. That would be a disaster.
There also needs to be a long-term solution for people who do not want all the bells and whistles the ACA demands be in conforming insurance policies. A good many of the policies that got a one-year reprieve from the president Thursday need to be grandfathered permanently into the law.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.