My November 15 post at America magazine takes on the attempts to "fix" Obamacare by guaranteeing that people can keep their existing policies. An excerpt:
The most popular feature of the Affordable Care Act (a ban on insurance companies denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical problems) is incompatible with the most popular fix to the Affordable Care Act (allowing individuals to keep bare-bones policies with relatively cheap premiums). That’s because cheap insurance policies can keep premiums low in part by denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical problems.
So all the proposals to preserve these cheap policies — which are mostly junk policies because they don’t cover anything or exclusionary policies because they keep out the old and sick — may be unworkable. If we had the single-payer health insurance system that conservatives fought so hard to avoid, I suppose Congress could just force the government to keep premiums low for the young and healthy. (It would be like forcing the U.S. Post Office to keep stamps low enough to ensure unprofitability or forcing Amtrak to run unprofitable passenger rail routes. No biggie.) But Obamacare relies on private insurance companies, and neither Democrats nor Republicans have an ideologically sound reason to force them to lose money by freezing low premiums for healthy people even as the law now requires them to sell policies to people with pre-existing conditions who are more likely to file claims.
Read the whole post here.