Author Topic: HHS Changes the Rules for States With Malfunctioning Online Exchanges  (Read 338 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Rapunzel

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 71,719
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/hhs-changes-rules-states-malfunctioning-online-exchanges#sthash.UfWZtRTN.uxfs

HHS Changes the Rules for States With Malfunctioning Online Exchanges
February 28, 2014 - 4:05 AM
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR,

WASHINGTON (AP) — States that have experienced technical problems running their own health care enrollment websites are getting some help from the Obama administration.

The administration quietly issued a health law fix Thursday to help those states. Several Democratic-led states, including Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts and Hawaii, are still trying to solve website problems that have eclipsed those experienced earlier by the federal HealthCare.gov site, now largely repaired.

Although the new policy fix is available to any state, Republican governors basically defaulted to federal control of online sign-ups in their states. Those who stand to benefit the most are Democratic governors who plunged ahead and ran into problems. Some are facing sharp criticism at home, from both sides of the political aisle.

"Today's news means that many more Oregonians will be able to access better coverage at a more affordable cost," said Oregon Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, whose state is near the bottom on enrollments.

Kitzhaber announced the change after the federal Health and Human Services Department posted it on one of its websites without further elaboration.

HHS said state residents who were unable to sign up because of technical problems may still get federal tax credits if they bought private insurance outside of the new online insurance exchanges.

The federal policy change is significant because until now the administration has stressed that the only place to get taxpayer-subsidized insurance under President Barack Obama's health law is through the new online markets, called exchanges. Previously, people who bought outside the marketplace were not eligible for subsidies, although they benefit from consumer protections in the law.

The tax credits that subsidize coverage under the law can greatly reduce the cost of a policy. This year virtually all Americans are required to have coverage or risk fines.

The administration's Republican critics are certain to question the move. Along with a delay in a key mandate that medium to large companies provide coverage or face fines, it's another example of the administration trying to find flexibility to smooth out rough patches in the law's implementation.

"I applaud the federal government for its efforts to make this financial assistance available for more Oregonians," Kitzhaber said in a statement. Financial help is available on a sliding scale based on income for low-income and middle-class households.

The policy change was couched in technical jargon, and it may not be easy for states and insurers to carry it out. For instance, consumers must have made an effort to enroll in the exchange, and the plan they purchased outside the government market must meet certain requirements of the law.

On the plus side, those who qualify can get financial assistance retroactively.

In a statement, the Obama administration said: "We recognize that some states have experienced difficulties in processing automated eligibility determinations and enrollments, and (are) providing options to marketplaces to ensure eligible consumers have access to financial assistance and issuers are paid."

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline Oceander

  • Technical
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 42,739
  • #NeverTrumpForever
Re: HHS Changes the Rules for States With Malfunctioning Online Exchanges
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2014, 10:50:30 PM »
And this is allowed under the provisions of the law itself, or is this just another executive ad lib?

Offline Rapunzel

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 71,719
Re: HHS Changes the Rules for States With Malfunctioning Online Exchanges
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2014, 10:58:43 PM »
And this is allowed under the provisions of the law itself, or is this just another executive ad lib?

The latter. I heard a bit about this on Fox while I was running errands this afternoon, they started the segment with Obama had made more changes to O-Care and then proceeded to talk about this. The short and sweet is the government will go ahead and have the states give their citizens subsidies and then sometime in the future see if they ever paid a premium and this is all courtesy of Obama.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 10:59:46 PM by Rapunzel »
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline Oceander

  • Technical
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 42,739
  • #NeverTrumpForever
Re: HHS Changes the Rules for States With Malfunctioning Online Exchanges
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2014, 11:13:26 PM »
The latter. I heard a bit about this on Fox while I was running errands this afternoon, they started the segment with Obama had made more changes to O-Care and then proceeded to talk about this. The short and sweet is the government will go ahead and have the states give their citizens subsidies and then sometime in the future see if they ever paid a premium and this is all courtesy of Obama.

In other words, the law doesn't allow this but he's doing it anyways, correct?

Offline Rapunzel

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 71,719
Re: HHS Changes the Rules for States With Malfunctioning Online Exchanges
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2014, 11:15:50 PM »
In other words, the law doesn't allow this but he's doing it anyways, correct?

Yes.

This is the sort of thing Jonathan Turley was testifying about this week as totally illegal and unconstitutional and why Turley thinks we are at a dangerous tipping point constitution-wise with a President doing what he wants and a congress unable or unwilling to stop him... and this from a constitutional law professor who himself is a flaming liberal.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf