Obamacare so sloppily drafted that US Territories may be unable to have health insurance

The geniuses who foisted Obamacare on the public have another embarrassing failure on their hands. In drafting Obamacare, they left US Territories such as Guam, the Northern Marianas, and the Virgin Islands in an unsustainable limbo, covered by some requirements, but not by others. The end result is that it may be "literally impossible" to buy health insurance. Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post reports:

Because of a quirk in the Affordable Care Act's drafting, the Northern Mariana Islands and the four other American territories are subject to some parts of the law but not others. This has messed up the individual market in the Northern Mariana Islands so badly that the one plan selling policies there told the territory's top insurance commissioner it would not sell new plans for 2014.

In other words: Beginning Jan. 1, regulators expect it will be literally impossible for an individual to buy a new policy in the Northern Mariana Islands, and difficult in other territories.

"In the 50 states and D.C., everybody is crying about the Affordable Care Act not working," says Sixto Igisomar, the regulator. "You multiple those things exponentially for us."

The problem, in its simplest form, is this: While the Affordable Care Act requires health insurers in the territories to accept all shoppers no matter how sick, it does not mandate that all territorial residents buy plans nor does it provide subsidies to make coverage more affordable--as it does in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

This is, to put it mildly, a really bad way to run an insurance market. The whole idea of the subsidies and the mandate was to encourage enrollment among the healthier, younger people necessary to support an insurance market that also works for the sick. Without them, experts expect only sick people will enroll--and premiums will skyrocket. It's like building a house with a roof but no walls. (snip)

The problems stem from how Congress drafted the Affordable Care Act, including the territories in some provisions but not others. New insurance regulations--like the requirement to sell to all shoppers, cover a larger suite of benefits, and limits on premiums--were included as amendments to the Public Health Service Act. American territories do fall under that law, and must comply with its requirements.

The individual mandate and insurance subsides, however, are not amendments to the PHS Act. They're just part of the new health care law, which defines states differently, as "each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia." As such, territories are also barred from using the federal health exchange but did have the opportunity to build their own marketplaces.

With the requirement to offer "the larger suite of benefits" (such as maternity care for 60 year old men) but no requirement for everyone to buy insurance, there is no incentive for the few health insurers in these small markets to offer any insurance at all, since only the neediest will buy insurance, guaranteeing large losses. Thus health care insurance may simply vanish.

The utopians who think they are smart enough to redesign the way everybody lives deserve all the ridicule and humiliation they are in for, given the way their plans are face-planting.

Hat tip: Breitbart

The geniuses who foisted Obamacare on the public have another embarrassing failure on their hands. In drafting Obamacare, they left US Territories such as Guam, the Northern Marianas, and the Virgin Islands in an unsustainable limbo, covered by some requirements, but not by others. The end result is that it may be "literally impossible" to buy health insurance. Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post reports:

Because of a quirk in the Affordable Care Act's drafting, the Northern Mariana Islands and the four other American territories are subject to some parts of the law but not others. This has messed up the individual market in the Northern Mariana Islands so badly that the one plan selling policies there told the territory's top insurance commissioner it would not sell new plans for 2014.

In other words: Beginning Jan. 1, regulators expect it will be literally impossible for an individual to buy a new policy in the Northern Mariana Islands, and difficult in other territories.

"In the 50 states and D.C., everybody is crying about the Affordable Care Act not working," says Sixto Igisomar, the regulator. "You multiple those things exponentially for us."

The problem, in its simplest form, is this: While the Affordable Care Act requires health insurers in the territories to accept all shoppers no matter how sick, it does not mandate that all territorial residents buy plans nor does it provide subsidies to make coverage more affordable--as it does in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

This is, to put it mildly, a really bad way to run an insurance market. The whole idea of the subsidies and the mandate was to encourage enrollment among the healthier, younger people necessary to support an insurance market that also works for the sick. Without them, experts expect only sick people will enroll--and premiums will skyrocket. It's like building a house with a roof but no walls. (snip)

The problems stem from how Congress drafted the Affordable Care Act, including the territories in some provisions but not others. New insurance regulations--like the requirement to sell to all shoppers, cover a larger suite of benefits, and limits on premiums--were included as amendments to the Public Health Service Act. American territories do fall under that law, and must comply with its requirements.

The individual mandate and insurance subsides, however, are not amendments to the PHS Act. They're just part of the new health care law, which defines states differently, as "each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia." As such, territories are also barred from using the federal health exchange but did have the opportunity to build their own marketplaces.

With the requirement to offer "the larger suite of benefits" (such as maternity care for 60 year old men) but no requirement for everyone to buy insurance, there is no incentive for the few health insurers in these small markets to offer any insurance at all, since only the neediest will buy insurance, guaranteeing large losses. Thus health care insurance may simply vanish.

The utopians who think they are smart enough to redesign the way everybody lives deserve all the ridicule and humiliation they are in for, given the way their plans are face-planting.

Hat tip: Breitbart

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