President Obama is trying to fix the mess from his three years of deception, but our experts are skeptical the new rules can really solve the problem.
In response to mounting bi-partisan political pressure, President Obama announced new health insurance rules yesterday that would allow citizens who have lost their health insurance to keep their plans at least one more year.
While drumming up support for the Affordable Care Act over the last three years, Obama repeatedly told the American public that “if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it.” According to a recent NBC News report, Obama administration officials knew as early as 2010 Obama’s promise was false, yet he continued to repeat it. In the last few weeks, millions of Americans have received cancellation letters from their insurers. The new rules still do not make good on his promise but do put off forced cancellations for another year.
We asked our Aleteia Experts what they thought of the new rules.
“[N]o one knows what the law really means, since it is constantly being changed,” says retired philosophy professor Dennis Bonnette. “President Obama's arbitrary and capricious multiple ’re-enactments’ of major details of this law make meaningless the actual language enacted by Congress, and beg for judicial review.”
President Emeritus of Catholics United for the Faith James Likoudis questions Obama’s authority to make the new rules and wonders if they really can restore plans already canceled anyway. “The president has no constitutional power to tamper further with the Law passed by Congress, changing its provisions as he wishes in order to protect his socialist political agenda.”
“Moreover, his latest change to the law to allow people to keep their insurance policies is without legal effect or authority, and it is unlikely that many insurance companies will engage in violating a law that forced them to cancel policies in the first place, and now re-institute them! Moreover, it is unlikely that where companies may reinstitute cancelled policies, their premiums will remain the same! They doubtless will be higher.”
Hubert Sales, Assistant Professor of Business at Belmont Abbey College, also doesn’t see how the new rules will fix the problem. “‘One more year’ may not be a sufficient answer for those who have or are being threatened with having their present insurance revoked. […] Administratively, this one-year extension is fraught with problems. Many of the insurers who issued the letter have begun the process of no longer doing business in the states where they issued the letters. How do they go back? Under coercion?”
Church historian Fr. C. John McCloskey has more basic complaint regarding the Obama administration’s rules allowing or not allowing certain health insurance plans. “The President and his administration are sinning against the Catholic rule of subsidiarity.”
Franciscan University at Steubenville Professor of Political Science Stephen Krason sees the latest develops as part of a greater web of problems. “Obamacare from the start has been a poorly conceived initiative developed to satisfy the administration's ideological objectives. The whole story behind it will have to wait years for historians to dig into to reveal. What seems to have been apparent all along the way is incompetence, favoritism, political pressure tactics, deception, and the promotion of an ideological agenda.”
“This is the result of people in the Obama administration trying to drastically reshape a sector of American life and the economy – health care – that they have little expertise in and impose a major national policy that the public almost from the start has not wanted. This new announcement is clearly driven by the fact that the President is facing heightening criticism from within his own party because of fear that it is going to pay the price for all this in the 2014 mid-term elections. Democratic senators up for reelection then seem to be the most concerned.”
The following Aleteia Experts contributed to this article:
Dennis Bonnette taught Thomistic philosophy for over 40 years and is the author of Origin of the Human Species. His website is drbonnette.com.
Stephen Krason, Professor of Political Science at Franciscan University, is a lawyer and the founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. His most recent book is The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic.
James Likoudis is a former college instructor in History and Government and is President Emeritus of Catholics United for the Faith.
Fr. C. John McCloskey is a Church historian and Research Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington DC. His personal website is www.frmccloskey.com.
Hubert Sales is Assistant Professor of Business at Belmont Abbey College.