At the Risk of Insisting that the Constitution Be Followed . . .

Isn’t this the kind of thing that requires–oh, what is the word I am thinking of? Oh yes, I remember now!–legislation? Or are we actually claiming that the president has the right to amend Obamacare by fiat?

The Obama administration is considering an extension of the president’s decision to let people keep their individual insurance policies even if they are not compliant with the health care overhaul, according to two top industry officials.

Avalere Health CEO Dan Mendelson said Thursday that the administration may let policyholders keep that coverage for an additional three years, stressing that no decision has been made. Policymakers are waiting to see what rate hikes health insurers plan for the insurance exchanges that are key to the overhaul’s coverage expansions.

“The administration is entertaining a range of options to ensure that this individual market has stability to it and that would be one thing that they could do,” he said.

Avalere Health is a market analysis firm, but Mendelson said his company was not advising the administration on exchange policy. He said he has had informal discussions with administration officials about the extension, but he didn’t identify them.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, Joanne Peters, said “We are continuing to examine all sorts of ways to provide consumers with more choices and to smooth the transition as we implement the law.”

Aetna Inc. Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini also told analysts during a conference call to discuss quarterly earnings that he had heard the plans may be extended. Aetna is the nation’s third-largest health insurer.

Aetna Chief Financial Officer Shawn Guertin said in an interview after the call that there have been discussions about whether the plans should be extended again, but he didn’t have any more details.

This is the part when I point out–again–that if a Republican president did this kind of thing, the media and the punditocracy would be complaining about the return of the imperial presidency.

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