Power beyond the law: HHS 'encourages' captive industries to save ObamaCare's bacon

A while ago, I was musing on the various levels of government power – short of outright and absolute tyranny – and it occurred to me that the highest level is power beyond the law.  It’s one thing when the State uses taxes and regulation to control the populace, but quite another when the Ruling Class insists its whims and desires must be obeyed.  The public, especially at the corporate level, is expected to do what the Ruling class “really wanted,” not just what they legislated.

This allows the Ruling Class to exercise power without funding or accountability.  There is no longer any need to be honest with citizens about the cost of government programs, not when unfunded mandates can compel the private sector to do what is desired, without a nickel of cost officially accruing to the State’s balance sheet.  The onus of blame for anything that goes wrong is easily shifted to those who had the temerity to obey the letter of the law, rather than live up to the aristocracy’s expectations.

It’s also clear that as the State increasingly expects its desires to be obeyed beyond the reach of properly written and ratified law, it becomes increasingly less concerned with obeying the law itself.  It’s a perfect inverse of the reasoning that we must comply with the unwritten desires of the Ruling Class; they, in turn, don’t expect to be bound by any cumbersome written laws that might thwart their noble desires.

Here’s one of the clearest examples of this mechanic at play, courtesy of Phillip Klein at the Washington Examiner: “On Thursday afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services said it was ‘strongly encouraging’ insurers to help the department fix a raft of problems created by the rocky rollout of President Obama’s health care law.”

Oh, they’re “strongly encouraging” the captive insurance industry to save their sorry asses from the absolute societal chaos their incompetence has wrought, are they?  I don’t suppose anyone feels like ignoring the “strong encouragement” from Obama bureaucrats who flagrantly violated federal law to intimidate them into silence when Congress began investigating the bungled Healthcare.gov rollout.  Their fates are now intertwined with ObamaCare, and the commissars know it.  Not only has the industry put a lot of apples in the O-care basket, but they don’t relish the notion of facing the public-relations fury of an enraged crony government whose top figure, Barack Obama, has one truly impressive skill: he’s really good at demonizing his opponents.

What sort of help is the industry being “strongly encouraged” to give?  

— It is requiring insurers to accept payments until Dec. 31 for coverage starting on Jan. 1. It is also “urging” insurers to give individuals more time beyond that to pay for coverage. In other words, if somebody pays for coverage in the middle of January, HHS is asking insurers to retroactively make that person’s coverage effective as of Jan. 1. HHS is also asking insurers to cover individuals who offer a “down payment,” even if that payment only covers part of the first month’s premiums.

— In a press release, HHS said it was also “strongly encouraging insurers to treat out-of-network providers as in-network to ensure continuity of care for acute episodes or if the provider was listed in their plan’s provider directory as of the date of an enrollee’s enrollment.”

— HHS is also “strongly encouraging insurers to refill prescriptions covered under previous plans during January.”

In other words, they’re being told to shovel dirt over every abominable failure of Obama’s twisted law.  They’re supposed to give people extra time to make the payments Obama’s hunk-o-junk $500 million computer system can’t process.  They’re being told to hide “doctor shock” from the public, and conceal the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs, until the Democrat Party drags its corrupt bulk over the finish line in the 2014 elections.  Obama and his team of geniuses don’t know the first thing about managing the industry they took over, but no problem – they can bully and threaten the people they were, just yesterday, portraying as heartless profiteers into keeping popular discontent tamped down to manageable levels.

Klein thinks the Administration doesn’t really expect these “strong encouragements” to result in a shower of gifts the insurance industry can’t really afford: “HHS has a huge mess on its hands and it hopes that by getting ahead of this news, it can foist the blame for the problems on insurers.”

That sounds about right… just as Obama’s laughable proposal to “fix” the cancellation crisis by inviting companies to break the law was really just a feint designed to shift blame onto them, when they refused to participate in his crazy “solution.”  Perhaps by now they’ve seen how dark the future waiting for them is, and they’ll be smart enough to avoid taking the bait.


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