Yuval Levin writes: As usual, it’s hard to tell just what’s going on inside the administration regarding Obamacare, but I don’t think we can really take the steps announced by HHS yesterday as anything but a bright, red, flashing warning light about the internal expectations regarding January.
Some of what they announced is frankly bizarre and slightly crazy. Beside extending the high-risk pool program (which isn’t nuts, just a strong indication that they’re not ready for January at this very late stage), they are asking insurers to pay claims for consumers who haven’t paid their premiums, to treat out-of-network doctors and hospitals as though they were in-network, and to pay for prescription drugs not actually covered by the plans they offer.
The administration is trying to present this as a set of perfectly ordinary kind of transition measures that insurers normally make available to new customers, and some of the more reliable members of their amen chorus on Obamacare have echoed that. But that’s not what this looks like to me, and a few conversations today suggest it’s not what it looks like to the insurers.