President Obama is holding a press conference this afternoon before he leaves on vacation. Here are three questions I would put to him.
1. A number of small businesses will receive cancellation notices sometime this year because their plans no longer conform with the Affordable Care Act. There’s some controversy about how many such notices will go out, but clearly millions of people will be affected. Will the protections you have now afforded to individuals who had their plans cancelled this year such as exemption from the individual mandate and the ability to uncancel their policy likewise apply to small employers and those insured by them?
2. Your Solicitor General argued to the Supreme Court that the individual mandate, what you called the minimum coverage provision, was crucial to the Affordable Care Act, that it, unlike other provisions of the ACA were inseverable. Here are quotes from pages 46 and 47 of the brief filed by your Solicitor General:
It is evident that Congress would not have intended the guaranteed-issue and community-rating reforms to stand if the minimum coverage provision that it twice described as essential to their success were held unconstitutional.
It is well known that community-rating and guaranteed issue coupled with voluntary insurance tends to lead to a death spiral of individual insurance.
Given the arguments made on your behalf, which may well have been correct, why are you not concerned that exempting more individuals from the individual mandate will not, as the insurance industry is complaining, destabilize the insurance markets and threaten the success of your legislation?
3. Are you concerned that while things are going better in some states such as New York, in many states such Oregon, Maryland, Texas there are a very low number of people enrolling in plans on the individual Exchanges so that even the most massive surge will not correct the situation before coverage begins January 1 or perhaps even before the end of March. Everyone agrees that low enrollment increases the risk that the markets in these states will become unstable? If that risk materializes, what is Plan B? What plans do you have to address the situation in those states?