President Obama has not talked about ObamaCare much during the campaign, understandably because most Americans want the health care law repealed. But just wait. We’ll be hearing a lot more about the president’s signature legislation, because a “flood” of ObamaCare rules will be unleashed upon us immediately following the election.
While Barack Obama has been on the campaign trail, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and her staff, along with those at the state level who are decision-making about the “exchanges,” have been busy working behind the scenes preparing for the “big reveal” of regulations.
On November 16th, the states face a deadline to inform the Obama administration whether they will implement the health insurance exchanges where consumers will purchase health insurance after 2014. States must have the exchanges ready to go in late 2013. If Obama wins and Democrats are still in control of the Senate, they will be sure the law is put in place as soon as possible.
With a Romney win, the lame duck session will not be so lame. Democrats will likely scramble to get all the regulations finalized by Nov. 22nd, which will be the 60-day mark before Romney’s inauguration on Jan. 20th. For the Obama administration, a “finalized” rule is one that cannot easily be undone by a Romney administration.
Perhaps one of the most significant, and controversial, ObamaCare regulations to be issued is one that will dictate what health insurance plans must cover. Other final rules to be issued include those governing the health insurance exchanges, the individual mandate, employer penalties with regard to insuring “full-time” employees, and the now notorious HHS “contraception” mandate.
Regarding the likely onslaught of ObamaCare rules, Gail Wilensky, who has overseen the Medicare and Medicaid programs under President George H.W. Bush, “My expectation is we will see a flurry [of regulation releases], but we’ll see the biggest flurry if Obama were to lose.” If Obama loses the election, time will not be on his side.
But, how will ObamaCare affect the pocketbooks of consumers who purchase health insurance in 2013? According to Ralph J. Nicoletti, Chief Financial Officer for Cigna, taxes on the health insurance industry related to ObamaCare will be passed on to customers in the form of higher premiums.
“If you look at the tax, just our philosophy on pricing is essentially to price underlying cost trends, which we’ve viewed as part of. So, beginning in 2013 with- for policies that overlap into 2014- we will include and reflect the industry tax in that pricing,” Nicoletti said.