The Nov. 14 article “Obama Moves to Avert Cancellation of Insurance” discusses President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will use the power of the executive branch to allow insurance companies to offer existing plans, most of which have already been canceled and removed from insurers’ offerings, through 2014.
The contingency requirement that insurance companies notify consumers both of any discrepancies in coverage and the option of going into the exchanges to buy a new plan is nothing but an ingenious political maneuver. If insurers decide to continue offering these plans, then consumers will be permitted to keep the plans until January 2015, a date that arrives conveniently just after the 2014 midterm elections.
The president’s decision to simply refuse to enforce a portion of his own law for more than a year is unconstitutional, despite the administration’s argument that it is an extension of the “prosecutorial discretion” that is granted to the president. In fact, the conditions put in place with respect to the insurance companies go beyond simple “nonenforcement” and essentially function as new legislation.
Unfortunately, given the time that it would take for insurance companies to resurrect the old plans, it appears that the damage has already been done. However, if the president is permitted to exercise this “nonenforcement” power in such a broad and overreaching manner, this may only be the tip of the iceberg.
The writer is a student in the health law program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.