Healthcare.gov may become a portal without a port. Like any online venue, it needs to be updated. It also needs to be improved. Without enough people to work on the site, it will not be staffed adequately.
There are also some deeper questions including about the levels at which subsidies are set for the health insurance coverages offered through the portal.
A major question is about whether or not the income levels are set at the right "height" to allow people to qualify for financial help in paying their health insurance premiums, or whether they need to be adjusted.
The 180 million people in the U.S. who have employers who pay part of their health insurance premiums are not affected by these questions or by the answers to them. They have subsidies from their employers, in reality, and so they are not really affected very much by questions about subsides from the federal government. Not nearly as much as the people who do not have employers who will pay part of their health insurance premiums, people who would pay 100% of their health insurance premiums without subsidies from the government.
According to former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose past service includes being the Kansas Insurance Commissioner, "if some decisions aren't made pretty quickly that stabilize the market and actually encourage more competition for 2018, I think you may see, sooner rather than later, a market collapse. In general, most economists believe that this is not a market currently that is in a so-called death spiral.... But if the administration actually, intentionally wants it to fall apart, then it could happen." Kathleen Sebelius, quoted by Nick Tabor in "Kathleen Sebelius Knows Better Than Anyone How Trump Can Still Mess With Obamacare" (New York Magazine Online, posted on Friday, March 31, 2017), also at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/03/kathleen-sebelius-how-trump-can-still-mess-with-obamacare.html (last accessed on Tuesday, April 4, 2017).
When the government actually, intentionally wants things to happen and dozes in inaction whenever the law requires a thing to be done, or when the government actually, intentionally does not carry out specific duties of office, there is a remedy.
The remedy is an ancient one. And it is equitable. In fact, this remedy was made for exactly the kind of situation under discussion here. It is the ancient remedy of mandamus.
Mandamus was invented to check the failure of kings to perform their duties. Whether mandamus is available in your jurisdiction depends on what judges have done to it there, because mandamus has been treated differently by different courts. In some places, for some reason mandamus may even have been abolished. In other places, the writ is still available to force the king to perform the king's duties.
Now may be a good time to think about using pre-existing remedies to address present issues.
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