Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

March 8, 2014

To tell good Obamacare changes from bad, ask this question

(Continued)

State-run exchanges are no guarantee of higher enrollment, but by bringing the decision-making closer to the people it’s meant to serve, they’re likely to help.

Another promising change was last week’s announcement that people who enroll in insurance plans outside of the exchanges will be eligible for the same federal subsidies available to those inside the exchanges. That fix — the one that sparked Pitts’ outrage — is important, especially in states whose exchange websites still aren’t working properly.

Judging Obamacare’s course corrections on this basis is a useful practice to keep in mind as the clock runs down on the open enrollment period for 2014. The scheduled deadline is March 31, but states have the authority to establish “special enrollment” periods beyond that date, and may use that authority to help people who have been unable to sign up because of technical problems.

Any state using that power will draw the ire of the law’s opponents. It shouldn’t care. At the same time, a quest for partisan advantage shouldn’t guide the federal or state governments as they consider future changes to the law. For all sides, the aim should be to increase the number of people covered by high-quality, affordable health-care plans. Everything else is politics.

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