Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Stupid GOP Tricks

It's easy to pick on folks like San Fran Nan who admonished her fellows to pass the bill to learn what's in it, but what excuse do these rocket surgeons have?

"House Republicans are moving quickly on a new bill to strengthen ObamaCare's temporary insurance plan for people with pre-existing conditions ... The measure seeks to shore up the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP) ... The Obama administration announced earlier this year that it would suspend enrollment in the PCIP"

That last is a bit disingenuous - the truth is that the program ran out of dollar bills. Nevertheless, the whole cockamamie idea is a waste of time and resources.

Here's why:

PCIP suffered from a fatal flaw: the requirement that one be uninsured for (at least) 6 months to be eligible. That turned off enough people that the program struggled even to get folks to sign up. Nevertheless, they still managed to run through all $54,000,000 [CORRECTION: $5 Billion] in less than three years, all the while racking up major claims expenses (as in: $5 in claims per $1 in premiums. That's no way to run a railroad, son).

But it gets worse:

Put all of that aside, and consider the timing. At best (and this is improbable, bordering on the fantasy) they can resuscitate the program for June 1. Remember, though, that there's a 6 month wait before folks can apply and, as regular readers know, this usually translates to coverage effective on the first day of the 7th month.

So folks who were in line on March 1, who couldn't sign up because the program was closed to new entrants can hope to sign up in time for a July 1 effective date. But wait: that means they'll have - at most - five months of coverage before the plan sunsets in favor of The ObamaTax Guaranteed Issue directive. And of course, anyone who hits that magic 6 month jackpot after June 1 has even less time on (and benefit from) the plan.

But it gets worse (how?!): remember the fact that few eligible folks even bothered to sign up? What makes the geniuses in DC think that's going to change now, when those sweet, sweet Exchange subsidies become available in January?

It is to weep.

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