WASHINGTON, November 19, 2013 – “Your Honor, I am Ronald Howe of the law firm, Dewey, Cheatum & Howe. The defendant, Bad Apple Insurance Company, extended my client’s prior health insurance policy beyond the date of January 1, 2014, even though it did not comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
The defense attorney was fast to rise and address the judge.
“May it please the court: For the insurer, I’m Marcia Dimm of Dimm, Dull & Boring. This policy is legal because it was both invited and authorized by the President of the United States.
“I have here a certified copy of the official November 14, 2013, letter to all state insurance commissioners released by the White House, issued from the Department of Health & Human Services and concurred in by the Department of Labor and the Department of the Treasury. As the letter states:
‘Health insurance issuers may choose to continue coverage that would otherwise be terminated or cancelled, and affected individuals and small businesses may choose to re-enroll in such coverage. Under this transitional policy, health insurance coverage in the individual or small group market that is renewed for a policy year starting between January 1, 2014, and October 1, 2014, and associated group health plans of small businesses, will not be considered to be out of compliance.’
“Furthermore, your honor, this was accompanied by a pronouncement from President Barack Obama, which states, ‘The bottom line is, insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014, and Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan.”
“Your Honor, my client was authorized by the President and cabinet agencies to continue this individual health insurance policy without complying with the additional requirements of Obamacare.
“The plaintiff liked their insurance. They wanted to keep it. They got to keep it. President Obama fixed everything to make sure that was possible. The company did not have to re-issue this policy but as a courtesy to the President we did so, helping him to keep a promise to the American people. As the White House stated, the Administration simply exercised its discretion not to enforce the law.
“That means everyone is bound by the clear limits of the actual insurance policy; it was granted an exception from Obamacare. That is why the plaintiff enjoyed a quite low premium. That is why the insurance company does not have to pay this claim for non-covered expenses and certainly should not have to pay this ridiculous request for punitive damages.”
Before the judge could bang a gavel or make a ruling, Mr. Howe stood up once more.
“Your Honor, this won’t take long.
“There is no such thing as an authorized exception to Obamacare.
“Here is a copy of Section 1201(4) of the Affordable Care Act. That section is now permanently codified in statute books as Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 300gg–6, relating to ‘Comprehensive health insurance coverage.’
“That law states:
“(a) Coverage for essential health benefits package
“A health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the individual or small group market shall ensure that such coverage includes the essential health benefits package required under section 18022(a) of this title.
“There follows a list of ten essential benefits, which were NOT all included in my client’s policy, such as outpatient care, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, and so forth. Bad Apple failed to include those benefits and failed to pay those bills for my client.
“The law under Obamacare is absolutely clear. It is ILLEGAL to sell a policy that does not include these features. Mr. Obama cannot give anybody or any company permission to perform an illegal act.
“Yes, the White House told the press that the federal government would not enforce this law against any company that sold such a policy illegally. But the President cannot shut off my client’s rights, Your Honor. He cannot curtail the legal rights of those persons whose substandard policies were extended in violation of the law and who have not received all their rights guaranteed under Obamacare.
“Even a first-year law student knows that the President of the United States does not possess this authority under our Constitution. All the President did was make a bad mess into a worse mess.”
The gavel banged.
“Judgment for the Plaintiff!” the judge sneered. “The insurance company didn’t have a leg to stand on and they knew it. Judgment for actual medical bills, plus legal fees, plus punitive damages against Bad Apple Insurance Company in the amount of $10-million!”
Word of the verdict spread quickly through the legal community. Within 24 hours class-action lawsuits sprang up against every insurance carrier that had complied with President Obama’s request and had renewed the policies invalidated by Obamacare. The policies had been perfectly good under prior law but were totally illegal under Obamacare. They had been affordable but Obamacare policies were not.
Insurance companies quickly regretted they had cooperated with the President. Their stockholders screamed for the heads of executives who had decided to go along with Obama.
The news arrived at the Oval Office even before most of the public heard about the ruling. The President had been watching a re-run of his 2009 interview with ABC-TV, where he said, “A whole lot of people out there are having bad experiences because they know recommendations are coming from people who have a profit motive.”
An advisor told Obama, “You know, because of your ‘fix,’ these verdicts are going to bankrupt some insurance companies. How do you feel about that? Will there never be an end to these unintended consequences?”
The President simply raised his eyebrows and shrugged. “Who said it was unintended?”
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