Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How not to play poker

The New York Times reports that the White House says it will give states more time to comply with the new health care law after finding that many states lag in setting up markets where millions of Americans are expected to buy subsidized private health insurance.

We've heard this before.

Sebelius is just bluffing.  She's bluffing because she holds no winning cards.

By law, the Exchanges must be fully operational by January 1, 2014, and must be able to accept & process enrollments by October 1, 2013.  By law, HHS must set up and operate the Exchange in any State that does not set up its own.

As of now, there are about 30 refusenik states.  Sebelius knows HHS doesn't have the resources, does not have the time even if it did have the resources, and therefore cannot fulfill its obligation to set up Exchanges for all the states that refuse to set up their own Exchange.  This is a slow-motion disaster that now appears impossible to prevent - and it will take place on her watch.

We know - and Sebelius knows - that Obama will instantly blame her for this failure.  (Without, of course, ever reflecting on why his plan failed).  She's desperate and and that explains why she's bluffing.  But bluffing never works when everyone in the game knows you hold losing cards.
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