It doesn't matter which party is making the decision. Politics doesn't fix health care.
It seemed clear to me that President Obama's November 14 decision to allow insurers to renew certain cancelled policies for 2014 was done entirely for political expediency. I have not yet found anyone who disagrees with me. So, now everything is fixed and everyone who had a policy that they liked in 2013 can keep that for 2014, right?
First, state regulators have to grant approval for this to happen. In a number of states, regulators have already said that they will not allow these sub-standard, non-compliant policies to be renewed.
Second, there have been increases in health care costs over the last year. The natural extension of this is that premiums must increase. This requires actuarial calculations to determine the correct increase. Actuarial work takes time. And, the actuaries who would do this may have other priorities right now. That some politicians(s) thought something was a good idea does not create more hours in the day, more days in the week, or more weeks in the year for any actuaries that I know, and I know a lot of actuaries.
Third, health insurance plans require administration. In the 21st century, plan administration requires software. Software requires time to be created or updated. And, it needs to be checked for glitches (see, for example, healthcare.gov). That some politicians(s) thought something was a good idea does not create more hours in the day, more days in the week, or more weeks in the year for any programmers that I know.
And, then there is the business decision that insurers must make. Despite a general public hatred of insurance companies, people tend to be somewhat loyal to their policies if not their insurers. Suppose you have a policy with, for example, Aetna and they decide to not reinstate it, but your friend who has a policy with, say, Kaiser, gets theirs reinstated, how will that make you feel about Aetna? On the other hand, if you find out that the Kaiser policy got reinstated with a large increase in premiums, you might feel even worse about Kaiser. It creates a frankly unhealthy guessing game.
But, wait, there's more.
According to the guidance we have received, these reinstated policies are simply a one-year fix. They will not be grandfathered, or so it seems. So, even if your policy is reinstated, come this time or thereabout, in 2014, you will be facing the same dilemma of trying to work out your health insurance arrangement for 2015. Well, at least healthcare.gov may be working properly by then.