The idea that an insurer like Regence can, or will, spin on a dime and revive our ol’ $587 Woody within the next six weeks is absurd. It skews the market and undermines the entire premise of the Affordable Care Act – which is that by balancing the halt (allowing pre-existing conditions) and the hale (forcing robust young adults to get in the pool), the exchanges will over time produce a system that offers quality health care at a price my family can afford.
Even Mike Kreidler, the deep-blue Democrat who serves as my state’s insurance commissioner, can’t support it. Hours after getting off a conference call with the White House on Thursday, Kreidler announced that the State of Washington would tell President Obama to stuff it. “In the interest of keeping the consumer protections we have enacted and ensuring that we keep health insurance costs down for all consumers, we are staying the course,” Kreidler said. “We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies.”
Which is how I found myself applauding Mike Kreidler and seething at a President I helped elect. Out here in the Land of the Brand of You, we don’t want cheap twelve-month extensions. We’re willing to suck it up and pay our fair share for health insurance. We want the exchanges to work. We’re not demanding a last-minute reprieve that threatens the stability of the entire system. What we’re asking for is clarity and competence.