“ObamaCare’s Secret Mandate Exemption”
If by “secret,” WSJ means “everybody knew he was going to do it, and it’s now become inconceivable that this ‘law’ can in any way at all be construed as the one that passed Congress — and yet, who’s going to do anything about it, particularly when we and the rest of the GOP money men have TEA Party dullards to slay, crony interests to protect, and illegal immigrants to keep around as cheaper labor?”
But that’s just me editorializing:
ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.
This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.
That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.
In 2013, HHS decided that ObamaCare’s wave of policy terminations qualified as a “hardship” that entitled people to a special type of coverage designed for people under age 30 or a mandate exemption. HHS originally defined and reserved hardship exemptions for the truly down and out such as battered women, the evicted and bankrupts.
But amid the post-rollout political backlash, last week the agency created a new category: Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your plan was cancelled and that you “believe that the plan options available in the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy” or “you consider other available policies unaffordable.”
This lax standard—no formula or hard test beyond a person’s belief—at least ostensibly requires proof such as an insurer termination notice. But people can also qualify for hardships for the unspecified nonreason that “you experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance,” which only requires “documentation if possible.” And yet another waiver is available to those who say they are merely unable to afford coverage, regardless of their prior insurance. In a word, these shifting legal benchmarks offer an exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one.
Of course, we’ll be told that this is ObamaCare “imploding on its own,” just as the GOP establishment said it would, which is why Ted Cruz should just die die die.
But that’s because the GOP spin machine, much like the progressive mainstream press (the two are becoming comfortable using the same playbook, incidentally), understands, as do Democrat operatives, that if ObamaCare doesn’t harm enough people before the next major election cycles, people may believe the whole thing rather innocuous. Which means they may continue voting along their traditional patterns — with any offset of those who have awakened to the political reality that we live in essentially a one-party aristocratic statist monolith made up for by an increase in imported “pre-citizens” (and in Chicago, post-citizens, many covered in dirt), who we’ll allow to vote, numerous times in some instances, without ID and without any desire to assimilate.
Which means that the GOP establishment sees here a win-win: they can continue to run against Obamacare without having to do anything to pare it back, now that it doesn’t affect most people; and then, should they lose a major election cycle and the Dems regain controlling power, they can fundraise off of a desire to kill the very ObamaCare that is being put off for political reasons by Democrats in the first place.
The House should be passing bills daily calling for the repeal of ObamaCare on the grounds that the law has significantly changed without Congressional input. They should be holding daily press conferences talking about how this kind of dictator-like manipulation of the law for political timing is a hallmark of tyranny.
But instead, they’re more interested in slaying those very people in Congress, both on the House and Senate side, who actually do such things.
This is the world we live in and the political realities we face.
The rest is sound and fury, signifying nothing.