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December 12, 2013

And He Spake That They Should Be Deemed To Be Covered, And It Was So. And It Was Good.

On the podcast over the past few weeks, we've been talking about what happens on January 1st, when people start showing up in emergency rooms due to car accidents or sudden medical crises, and discover they're not actually covered, either because they couldn't sign up at all, or didn't get the check to the insurer in time, or thought, erroneously, that health care was "free."

@johnekdahl ventured a guess: Maybe Obama would just create New Law once again and demand that insurers deem the uninsured to be insured.

It seemed to only be on the outermost fringes of the possible... and yet, as the Day of Catastrophe and Crisis approaches, the Administration seems to be thinking more and more about the Unthinkable Solution.

During the Obamacare rollout, stories have spread about millions of Americans losing their current health insurance coverage, preferred doctors and hospitals as plans restrict networks to comply with the law, and losing their prescription drug coverage.

On Thursday afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services said it was “strongly encouraging” insurers to help the department fix a raft of problems created by the rocky rollout of President Obama’s health care law.

Among the guidance the HHS announced:

It is requiring insurers to accept payments until Dec. 31 for coverage starting on Jan. 1.

That's absurd and illegal. They need time to actually have the check clear the bank to actually be paid. But Obama has spoken, and it shall be so.

It is also “urging” insurers to give individuals more time beyond that to pay for coverage.

If you want insurance to begin January 1st, you can pay, like, whenever.

In other words, if somebody pays for coverage in the middle of January, HHS is asking insurers to retroactively make that person's coverage effective as of Jan. 1. HHS is also asking insurers to cover individuals who offer a "down payment," even if that payment only covers part of the first month's premiums.

They go further-- after having imposed "skinny network" coverage on America, the HHS is now "strongly encouraging" (again) insurers to pay for doctors outside of the network. That is, pay for non-network doctors.

So that people don't realize (at least at first) that they will not be keeping their doctor at all.

On a conference call, an HHS spokeswoman emphasized: “We are just proposing it as an option and we’re encouraging issuers. There is no requirement.”

Translation: HHS has a huge mess on its hands and it hopes that by getting ahead of this news, it can foist the blame for the problems on insurers.

This is all very close to simply ordering insurers to "deem" that everyone is insured, as John speculated. It seems that way to Phillip Klein, anyway:

AllahPundit notes that many insurers are complying with the "strong encouragement" of the government shakedown artists, and are creating a special grace period for payment, until early January. Some states are ordering grace periods until January 7, 8, or even 15.

That’ll avert lapses in coverage for people who see the doctor early next month, not realizing that their first payment was already due by New Year’s Eve. Remember, though, according to one expert who spoke to Charles Ornstein about this, insurers can probably expect only half of their customers to have paid up by the December 31st deadline. Even if another 25 percent manage to make payment during the grace period, you’re still looking at thousands of people whose coverage will lapse in January. That’s a political disaster for HHS in the making. Uncle Sam will have to do something about it. But what?

Deem everyone covered. What else can he do?

Only about half of the people "covered" by Obamacare will have paid by January 1st -- this is largely Obama's fault, of course, because how the hell could they have bought insurance with a non-functioning site?

And there's still more work to be done -- all those fragged 834s will have to be corrected and reconciled by human intervention before tens of thousands of other people are even noted in an insurers' client list.

And Obama won't want to take the political hit for that. So just deem everyone covered.

Just like that. Just make a pronouncement. Just create law by kingly edict.

We are approaching the nation's Monarchical Moment.

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posted by Ace at 05:04 PM

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