California nixes the Obamacare “fix”

Covered California, that state’s insurance exchange, has rejected President Obama’s request that people be allowed to remain in non-compliant health insurance plans for another year. This decision is highly significant because California has experienced by far the most insurance policy cancellations of any state, reportedly around 900,000 of them.

Eliana Johnson points out that a number of Blue States — New York, Minnesota, Washington, and Rhode Island — have previously said no to Obama’s fix. So far, less liberal states — e.g., Florida, Tennesse, Alabama, and South Carolina — seem more receptive to the president.

The irony is only superficial. Blue State leaders are saying no because, as liberals, they dislike private plans and, more importantly, want to offer no escape from Obamacare for the young and the healthy whose participation in exchanges is needed to subsidize the middle-aged and the sick.

Red State leaders are more inclined to say yes because, as conservatives, they want to maximize consumers’ ability to choose.

This raises the question of whether Obama really wants states to agree to his fix. More likely, he views the situation the way California, New York, etc. do, and has offered his fix as a stunt to reduce the political damage resulting from his false promise that people who like their plan can keep their plan.