OPINION: Wall Street Journal Editorial: Escape from Obamacare

November 13, 2013

November 13, 2013

EDITORIAL: Escape From Obamacare

The GOP Starts to Offer Americans a Better Alternative

The Affordable Care Act appears to be misfiring in every imaginable way, and Democrats are having second thoughts about serving as human shields for White House ineptitude. If they really want to make amends, they'll join Republicans in trying to repair some of the damage they caused.

The first act of penance is modest legislation the House will vote on Friday that would try to honor President Obama's promise that people who liked their insurance could keep it. The one-page bill would allow insurers to continue offering for sale in 2014 the policies that ObamaCare terminated, exempting them from federal regulatory edicts. …

Reinstating plans, to the extent possible, would be difficult to price amid the insurance market convulsions ObamaCare is causing.

Still, insurance regulation was largely a state obligation before ObamaCare, and the GOP bill is a useful federalist housekeeping. Insurance commissioners in states with refugee crises in their individual markets could work with the companies they regulate to make a stopgap accommodation.

Given the lead times that insurance contracts require, Congress would need to act quickly. Every day of delay waiting on the website to work or another excuse makes a potential solution less likely before year-end.

The results are likely to be modest, but the bill could help some people, as well as prevent the millions of additional cancellations that will start to emerge over the coming year. House Republicans are obeying the axiom that Democrats read as a suggestion to do the opposite: First, do no harm. …

House Republicans have the better argument. There’s a substantive difference between letting people keep their plans through deregulation and through a new mandate that is supposed to counteract the damage from the old mandates. They should build on this insight and promote more ways for people to elude ObamaCare if they prefer. …

Read the complete editorial online here.

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