No, this doesn’t sound ominous for Obamacare boosters. No, not at all: “The White House is meeting with CEOs of health plans on Wednesday, according to two insurance industry sources.”
I got a reaction to this from a (non-insurance company) CEO who, for reasons which will become abundantly clear as soon as you read it, prefers to stay anonymous. You can guess whose code name ‘Unicorn’ is in this, of course:
Here’s how I bet this meeting will go:
Unicorn: Guys, I’ll sign your souvenir White House passes at the end of the meeting, and you’ll be able to take photos of the conference room after I leave. What I wanted you all to know is that we’re delaying the individual mandate, indefinitely.
CEOs: We’re not surprised. But we’re getting our subsidies on schedule, right? We put on a lot of extra costs to be ready for your rollout. We held up our end of the deal, and as a matter of fact, it would have been illegal for us not to have done so.
Unicorn: Yeah, well about that… You know how you guys have shareholders that you hate, and that are constantly making you do things you don’t want to do? Well, I have Republicans, same basic idea. So my hands are tied here.
CEOs: Hmm. So you’re saying we need to be scheduling emergency media calls to announce a major revenue shortfall starting early next year? Because you know if we don’t do that the minute we walk out of here, we’re violating SEC regulations as well as our individual state regs. We don’t think so. We think you’re going to pay us large penalties in lieu of the subsidies. So get out the big pen you use to sign eleven-figure checks.
Unicorn: Guys, I have a scheduled bathroom break. Thanks so much for coming out to see me. You can keep the room for the rest of the hour. I’ll send in Valerie Jarrett. She’ll autograph your passes and answer all your questions.
Although I think that the aforementioned CEO gives Bar… excuse me, “Unicorn”… too much credit. Politico reported that Valerie Jarrett is flying this one almost-solo (she’s got whoever is Chief of Staff this week*), largely because there’s no way that anybody higher than her would dare be at this meeting.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*I really stopped paying attention after the… fourth? Fifth? one.