Ross Douthat writes:
…it does seem like there is a semi-plausible policy response to the rate shock issue, which wouldn’t roll back the ongoing plan cancellations but might make cheaper plans available to buyers going forward: Obamacare’s regulations could be rewritten to allow insurers to sell less comprehensive plans on the exchanges. This wouldn’t require doing away with every new regulation, or rolling back the pre-existing condition guarantee, which is what liberals argue the Upton bill currently being considered in the House would do. But it could involve heeding the recent hint from the University of Chicago’s Harold Pollack, a card-carrying Obamacare advocate, that perhaps in the wake of the last month’s developments the government should ”revisit just how minimal the most minimal insurance packages should be,” which in turn could open the door to allowing many more people to buy the kind of high-deductible catastrophic plans that the law currently allows insurers to only sell to twentysomethings.
These moves would not let everyone keep their existing plans, as the Upton and Landrieu bills aspire to do — but there is really nothing that the White House can responsibly do, given the law’s underlying design, that would resolve that problem. What partial deregulation would accomplish, though, is to allow some of the lower-cost plans the law abolishes to be actually revived and made available on the exchanges as “bronze” options in 2014 and 2015, rather than just temporarily grandfathered for a year or so outside them.
The post has other points of interest as well.