By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, Alabama Blue Cross Blue Shield announced in a statement that it will not continue non-Affordable Care Act compliant policies for another year as recently proposed by President Barack Hussein Obama.
Alabama Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Koko Mackin said, “A one-year continuation of policies that violates the ACA’s requirements could create significant legal and financial risks to our policyholders, the state and our company.”
The Alabama Republican Party said on Facebook, “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama joins the ranks of insurance companies that will not comply with Obama’s “fix.” Reaffirm statements heard across the country that the “fix” would destabilize the already shaky market.”
Alabama State Senator Paul Bussman (R) from Cullman said, I hear everyday a similar question. “Once we get to a certain point in the Obamacare mistake will we be able to recover?” One area was answered today. Blue Cross Blue Shield today refused to reinstate current health plans. That means the increased rates and deductibles that we have all heard about and received are not going away.”
The controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (often referred to as Obamacare), gave the U.S. Health and Humans Services Department (HHS) massive new powers over the American healthcare insurance industry. The law forces all Americans to buy coverage, eliminated pre-existing conditions, high risk pools, the practice of rating customers based on their health, and forced insurers to offer benefit laden policies while raising taxes on healthcare insurers and providers.
The result has been, in much of the country, higher rates and millions of Americans losing their healthcare insurance when insurers shut down old policies that do not comply with the very restrictive HHS standards.
As millions of Americans were losing their healthcare insurance, President Barack Hussein Obama announced that Americans who like their insurance can keep their insurance……for just another 12 months.
The President, at a recent news conference that he would allow insurance companies to continue to offer insurance policies that do not comply with the strict demands of the Department of Health and Human Services for another year, potentially slowing the rate of policy cancellations that have swept the nation as more of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obamacare) goes into effect.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said in a statement afterwords, “I would like to commend the President for recognizing what I have said all along, that the Affordable Care Act is unworkable legislation. The late change announced Thursday is an acknowledgment by the federal government that the complexities of this convoluted law are making its implementation practically impossible. I would like to see this law repealed and a bipartisan group of experts and stakeholders brought together to create a truly effective, accessible and affordable health insurance and healthcare plan for the people of this country.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield has already canceled 87,000 Alabama healthcare insurance policies. BCBS has 87% of the healthcare insurance market in Alabama.
All the Republican members of Alabama’s Congressional delegation voted for H.R. 3350, the Keep Your Health Plan Act.
Congressman Mike Rogers (R) from Saks said, “This legislation, introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), would allow health care plans on the individual market to remain available so people could have the option to keep their current health care plans.” “Although this bill would help in the short term, there is no substitute for getting rid of Obamacare altogether.”
Congressman Mike Rogers (R) from Saks joined all nine members of Alabama’s congressional delegation at the time in voting against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 when it passed originally.
President Barack Obama’s controversial healthcare reform package has only grown more unpopular as more of the controversial legislation has gone into effect and as Americans have learned that the President’s promise that if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance was simply an empty promise.
Rep. Rogers said in his monthly column, “America is over six weeks in to the Obamacare roll out, and things are still a mess. People are still having problems signing up, but even more painful are the letters folks are receiving about the changes to their current health care plans. Every day we are hearing more and more about people’s current health care plans being dropped completely. Because of this, families and individuals are now being forced into different and often times much more expensive health care plans.”
Rep. Rogers continued, “Many folks across East Alabama may have to make the tough decision to forgo their health insurance because of unforeseen increases in the cost of their health care premiums and deductibles. Yet under Obamacare, folks are required to purchase health insurance by March of 2014 to avoid paying a penalty. They just cannot afford any of it.”
Despite bipartisan support for H.R. 3350, the President has vowed that he will veto the legislation if it passes the Senate, although when the PPACA was being considered by the U.S. Congress, the President promised Americans that if they liked their healthcare insurance and if they liked their doctor they could keep their healthcare insurance and their doctor. Both promises have proven to be empty as millions of Americans have lost coverage and the new policies are often very restrictive about using only doctors within the plan’s network.
The healthcare roll out debacle has hurt the President’s popularity. A recent CBS poll showed that the majority of Americans now oppose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and want it repealed and only 37% of the public now approve of the President’s job performance.
Some constitutional scholars question whether or not the President even has the authority to delay enforcement of a provision of congressional legislation for a year, but whether it is ordering federal regulators to pass rules regulating carbon dioxide emissions, ordering that illegal aliens be given legal status in this country preventing deportations, or delaying Obamacare for American businesses, President Obama has claimed unprecedented powers.
Some insurance industry experts are predicting that the chaos that has ensued in the individual insurance market as those polices were forced to comply with the PPACA is likely to be repeated next year when employers who offer healthcare insurance are forced to offer PPACA policies next year. That was supposed to have gone into effect this year, but the President unilaterally gave businesses another year to comply back in July after Democratic incumbents expressed concerns that full implementation of the PPACA this year would hurt the Democratic Party’s performance in 2014 mid term elections.
It is estimated that as many as 90 million Americans could lose their existing healthcare insurance policies over the next two years as the nation transitions to PPACA compliant policies.