Insurance providers once again invited to ignore “the settled law of the land”
There’s nothing funnier than watching an ObamaCare apologist describe it as a “law,” usually in a tone of high dudgeon that any treasonous saboteurs would even dare think of repealing it. It should be obvious to even the dimmest left-wing partisan by now that ObamaCare is not a “law,” but of course that doesn’t bother them, because they don’t think their beloved all-wise all-knowing super-government should be bound by laws. The will of our benevolent aristocracy should not be thwarted by the sort of legal speed bumps, tar pits, and bear traps that routinely impose trillions of dollars in cost upon private industry. Not even the dusty old Constitution should be an obstacle when a duly credentialed Great Man or Woman of the Left has a really swell idea that would benefit society.
For example, in the assessment of Charles C. Johnson at the Daily Caller, the bug-riddled ObamaCare website stands in direct violation of federal laws that require government agencies to ensure the safety of citizens’ confidential data. It’s a fairly open-and-shut case:
Under the the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is required to have an “Authority to Operate,” or ATO. In order to receive an ATO, new information tech systems must perform a set of tests, including “Security Control Assessments” (SCA).
But according to CMS’s 2014 budget request, no such security assessment took place. The Federal Healthcare Marketplace website was rolled out without full end-to-end testing.
Indeed, the large number of new systems created because of Obamacare created a backlog of testing. CMS could not complete its required security. Failing to complete the required means no ATO, and hence a violation of federal law under FISMA.
We all know that a private operation which violated such a regulation would be facing painful legal consequences, including the sort of huge fines that would probably lead angry stockholders to demand a few executive scalps. The violation wouldn’t have to be anywhere near this blatant. If our hypothetical corporate offender was not a fully paid-up Democrat Party donor in good standing, their violation would probably also be presented to the media as evidence of reckless disregard by the organization – and possibly the entire industry – for the safety and security of the American people. A squadron of protesters would soon assemble outside company headquarters.
But because this is the most lawless power grab attempted by our out-of-control Ruling Class in a generation, violating FISMA – which is, to use a phrase popular among Obama apologists, “the settled law of the land” – doesn’t matter. ObamaCare only works, to the meager extent it can be said to “work,” because it transcends the law. Its administrators require power unbounded by the limits they think nothing of imposing upon the private sector. The same people who crank out four of five thousand pages of new regulations every year feel blissfully free to ignore ten-year-old laws governing their behavior. Pushed against the wall, some of the people who brought you Healthcare.gov would probably claim they didn’t even know FISMA exists. That defense is so unacceptable from the private sector that American business spends over a trillion dollars per year on regulatory compliance, a figure that really should be added to the nearly four trillion dollars a year Washington officially spends when we talk about the “size of government.”
Not only has President Obama used executive fiat to disregard parts of the Affordable Care Act he found politically inconvenient on several occasions, but he’s invited his private-sector Little Partners in the insurance industry to break the law with his blessing. That was his brilliant solution to the wave of insurance cancellations that threw the Democrat Party into full-blown panic a few weeks ago: just ignore the Affordable Care Act mandates for year, keep selling the old illegal policies, and I’ll order the cops to look the other way.
The Administration is at it again, as Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner reports the Department of Health and Human Services is “strongly encouraging” insurance companies to ignore a few more chunks of Barack Obama’s disastrous law, to mitigate the political fallout from its launch catastrophe:
Among the guidance the HHS announced:
— It is requiring insurers to accept payments until Dec. 31 for coverage starting on Jan. 1. It is also “urging” insurers to give individuals more time beyond that to pay for coverage. In other words, if somebody pays for coverage in the middle of January, HHS is asking insurers to retroactively make that person’s coverage effective as of Jan. 1. HHS is also asking insurers to cover individuals who offer a “down payment,” even if that payment only covers part of the first month’s premiums.
— In a press release, HHS said it was also “strongly encouraging insurers to treat out-of-network providers as in-network to ensure continuity of care for acute episodes or if the provider was listed in their plan’s provider directory as of the date of an enrollee’s enrollment.”
— HHS is also “strongly encouraging insurers to refill prescriptions covered under previous plans during January.”
On a conference call, an HHS spokeswoman emphasized: “We are just proposing it as an option and we’re encouraging issuers. There is no requirement.”
The commissars have made their will known, comrades. It is your decision whether or not you will follow these “suggestions” for the good of the proletariat, or insist on stubbornly obeying the written law. Rest assured that we will remind the people how you could have accepted our invitation and spared them much suffering.
Klein thinks that’s the real purpose of this bizarre announcement – HHS knows these “suggestions” would be fabulously expensive or logistically absurd to follow, so they’re really just trying to “foist the blame for the problems on insurers.” He followed up his story by musing on Twitter, “At this point, HHS may as well ask insurers to simply declare everyone in America covered.”
Once again, the private sector is being asked to step forward and save Obama’s incompetent team from the consequences of the foolish program his power-hungry Party inflicted on us. Three huge shoes are getting ready to drop: invalid coverage due to lack of processed payments; “doc shock,” as Americans realize Obama was lying when he said they would be able to keep their doctors; and “drug shock” as people who rely on regular prescription medications discover they can’t just hang tight and wait for ObamaCare’s inept bureaucracy to figure out if their coverage is valid or not. The insurance industry is expected to catch those shoes, because Uncle Sam is flat on his back beneath a huge pile of dropped footwear at the moment.
That’s the story of the ObamaCare rollout in a nutshell: every step of the way, the same private industries that Obama socialists sneer down their noses at – the same people Obama was castigating as greedy robber barons just yesterday – are expected to swing into action and save the day, doing in a matter of weeks what Obama’s trillion-dollar bureaucracy couldn’t accomplish in three and a half years.
And wasn’t this flailing President just days ago howling that we couldn’t possibly return to the old “status quo?” Because it’s obvious the old way was vastly superior to his new centrally-planned order, a concession he makes every time his Administration asks the insurance industry to keep old systems running for a while longer, or selling the plans Obama arrogantly dismissed as “bad apple” coverage.
It’s a joke to refer to ObamaCare as “central planning.” Very little of it has been “planned” at all, which torpedoes its central premise. The idea behind this, and every other statist scheme, is that the government is better able to manage operations and intelligently allocate resources. Nothing has discredited that foolish notion faster or more thoroughly than ObamaCare, which is not a “law” but a power grab. The difference is that a “law” places equally firm restrictions and obligations upon both the government and its citizens. Raw political power, on the other hand, knows neither responsibility nor restraint. May our children learn that lesson by studying the failure and repeal of ObamaCare.