The Law with Unintended Consequences

In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the “personal health insurance coverage” of senators, representatives and their staff members.

“It is unclear whether members of Congress and Congressional staff who are currently participating in F.E.H.B.P. may be able to retain this coverage,” the CRS wrote in a 8,100-word memorandum, the Times reports.

For example, it says, the law may “remove members of Congress and Congressional staff” from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available. . . .

The law apparently bars members of Congress from the federal employees health program, on the assumption that lawmakers should join many of their constituents in getting coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.

But the research service found that this provision was written in an imprecise, confusing way, so it is not clear when it takes effect.

The new exchanges do not have to be in operation until 2014. But because of a possible “drafting error,” the report says, Congress did not specify an effective date for the section excluding lawmakers from the existing program.

Under well-established canons of statutory interpretation, the report said, “a law takes effect on the date of its enactment” unless Congress clearly specifies otherwise. And Congress did not specify any other effective date for this part of the health care law. The law was enacted when President Obama signed it three weeks ago.

That means that congressmen and their staffers may be afoul of the law right now.

ObamaCare is proving to be even more of a shambles than critics had expected. Is this because the Democrats who currently run Congress are unusually incompetent? Tempting as it is to say yes, probably not. Put it down, instead, to hubris and haste. In their mad rush to outrun public opinion and impose “universal health care” on their unwilling constituents, Harry Pelosi, Nancy Reid & Co. simply didn’t bother paying attention to the details.

If CRS is right and congressmen and their staffers are now forbidden to be insured as federal employees, this may turn out to be ObamaCare’s fatal flaw. The Times observes that Congress “could try for a legislative fix,” and it quotes Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, as urging just that: “After the committee completed its work, the coverage provision was redrafted by others, and that’s where mistakes were made. Congress can and should act to correct the mistakes.”

Good luck with that, guys. Are congressmen really going to pass legislation to rectify the harm ObamaCare did to them,Yuval Levin points out: “If you had your own research service to help you figure out what the law will do to your insurance, the answer would likely be just as confusing and discouraging.” The CRS’s findings are a powerful reminder that ObamaCare likely holds horrible surprises for everyone. while continuing to subject everyone else to this awful, hated law? Leaving the law in place isn’t a politically attractive option either, for the reason National Review’s Yuval Levin points out: “If you had your own research service to help you figure out what the law will do to your insurance, the answer would likely be just as confusing and discouraging.” The CRS’s findings are a powerful reminder that ObamaCare likely holds horrible surprises for everyone.

The logic of the situation inexorably points toward repeal–though we expect President Obama and this Congress will defy logic as firmly and for as long as they can. (WSJ)

While ObamaCare is an abomination that will hurt future generations it would be fitting if Congress was hoist on their own petard.

But I suspect that once they determine if they are screwed or not rather than revisit the bill in an overhaul and draw lots of unwanted attention they’ll just sneak it into a bill later on in the dead of night.

That would be the modis operandi of this Congress. Do it in secret, in a back room, without anyone knowing until it was too late to doanything about what you cooked up.

And if they do find out, Lie, Obfuscate, and attack.

I’m sure we have years and years of surprise and new horrors ahead of us.

This from the Toronto Star is just Curious:

Proof of medical coverage will become mandatory for all visitors to Cuba starting May 1.

The Cuba Tourist Bureau in Canada notified tour operators recently, and promises a general announcement with more details shortly.

So how long before ObamaCare follows suit, after all Cuba has a great medical system according to the Far Left who are in love with it. See “Sicko” by Michael “I by My own press” Moore.

At current exchange rates, Cubalinda will charge $2.70. a day for up to $7,558 of medical emergency insurance, plus assorted other types of coverage. It will charge about $3.24 a day for $27,000 of medical coverage and $7,558 for transportation of deceased, injured or sick persons.

That compares with as little as $1.81 a day or a minimum of $16 a week for a young Canadian to get $5 million of medical coverage from a Canadian insurer, says Aguirre. Meanwhile, a reasonably healthy senior, age 70 to 74, would pay $6.36 a day for a short trip to a non-U.S. destination, says Cappon.

Aguirre’s company’s president, Robin Ingle, concedes the skimpy Cuban policies would provide enough coverage for the vast majority of illnesses or injuries travelers might experience in Cuba.

“The Cubalinda.com website says ‘the insurer will not assume payment for treatment of pre-existing medical condition (sic), known or unknown to the insured person’.”

You could pay the modest premium and discover later you have no coverage when you need it.

So proceed with caution. Don’t leave home without adequate coverage.

Where’s Karl Malden when you need him??

And a Preview of Things to Come

A Massachusetts court Monday ruled against health insurance providers seeking to raise their premiums 8 to 32 percent in a closely watched case.

Massachusetts enacted a universal health care plan in 2006 that includes politically controversial measures such as the individual mandate requiring all adults to purchase insurance. With opponents of the national health care legislation passed weeks ago promising legal action, the Massachusetts case was seen a foretaste of what could lie ahead.

In this instance, the court affirmed that, for now at least, the state has the authority to oversee the industry.

The challenge arose from a bid by health insurance providers in Massachusetts several weeks ago to raise their premiums. Massachusetts Insurance commissioner Joseph Murphy called the increases “excessive,” noting that the medical consumer price index – an indicator of how much medical goods and services cost – projected a necessary increase of only 5 percent. Mr. Murphy rejected 235 of 274 proposed rate hikes.

Six insurance companies sued, arguing the state does not have the regulatory authority to cap premiums. They said they would lose $100 million without the premium increase, plus even more in the administrative costs of having to redesign their plans.

In addition to the suit, the insurance companies filed a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from regulating their premium increases until the case is decided. They also asked for an expedited trial.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel denied the request to expedite the trial and the injunction. He said that until the health insurance companies exhausted all available administrative remedies within the state Department of Insurance, the court had no jurisdiction. Only then could the insurance companies move through the normal legal process, he said.

He added that he wanted to avoid “stepping in the [insurance] commissioner’s shoes” and revising the regulations temporarily until the later court date.

Furthermore, the regulations did not cause “irreparable harm” because lost profits could later be recouped, Judge Neel said.

Recouped how?

Don’t worry, the Government is here to save you from evil capitalists! 😦