Today's illegal ObamaCare change: subsidies for everyone!
By: John Hayward
2/28/2014 10:23 AM
In a properly functioning republic, Congress would have repealed ObamaCare a long time ago – it’s an absolute failure by Barack Obama’s standards, since he can’t get through a week without making illegal modifications to the idiotic law his party stuffed down our throats. The first illegal modification should have been the end of the Affordable Care Act.
The latest one is going to cost us a bundle, it’s flagrantly against the law, and it should prompt emergency sessions of Congress to wipe out the Affordable Care Act once and for all. How much of this turkey has to get plucked before our degenerate political system admits the law is null and void? How arbitrary must this Administration become, before some last-ditch effort to preserve our Constitution and the rule of law is mounted?
So here we are, with a pack of corrupt and incompetent Democrat administrations that blew millions of dollars on non-functional websites, in states that decided to set up their own ObamaCare exchanges. The unfortunate citizens of those misgoverned states had little choice but to buy insurance outside of the inert ObamaCare system. The Affordable Care Act, aka THE SETTLED LAW OF THE LAND, says it is strictly illegal to provide tax subsidies to insurance policies purchased in this manner.
But that might get those inept Democrat governors, and the congressional Democrats who signed this ridiculous bill, creamed in the next election, as unhappy citizens find themselves forced to pay the full freight for their own health care – a punishment the Affordable Care Act reserves for people who earn more than $80k or so.
Thus His Majesty King Barack I, through his loyal minions at the Department of Health and Human Services, did order an illegal bailout of the blue-state exchange hells, apparently hoping nobody would notice. The Associated Press noticed:
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.
“Near the bottom on enrollments?” That’s an interesting way to put it. Nobody has been able to use the Oregon exchange. Crucial sections of code remain completely unwritten. The state is close to giving up on the pile of garbage Governor Kitzhaber poured nearly $100 million of his citizens’ money into. The Oregonian reports the software company, Oracle Corporation, just downsized its repair team, removing 100 employees and leaving only 65 on the job. Some of those people were billing over three hundred dollars per hour for their services.
Kithzaber handled this disaster exactly the same way as Barack Obama, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and every other top Democrat involved in this disaster: he claimed he was out of the loop and had no idea what was going on.
Lucky for him, here comes the Bumbler-in-Chief to save Kitzhaber and his blue-state colleagues from the well-earned wrath of voters. Democrats looting taxpayers to bail out Democrats: it’s the American way!
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.
“Trying to find flexibility?” IT’S. AGAINST. THE. LAW. The Affordable Care Act is extremely clear on this point. In fact, there’s a strong case to be made that only functioning state exchanges were eligible for tax credits, because steaming pile of legislative crap shoveled out by power-hungry Democrats in 2009 was worded in a manner that would exclude the federal exchanges. This was all supposed to be part of the effort to prod citizens into using the exchanges; excluding the federal exchange was evidently a bungled effort by certain Democrats to intimidate all fifty states into setting up their own.
But in the New Normal, it no longer matters what certain laws actually say. Our rulers hold themselves to none of the fine print they use to ensnare us. If part of the ACA becomes politically troublesome, it is simply waved away. It’s more clear than ever that ObamaCare was not a “law,” but a writ of unlimited power to the executive branch, a formal sacrifice of law and liberty that never would have passed, if presented honestly to the American people.
Among the many other problems with this “make up the law as we go” approach, it makes an utter mockery of the notion that American citizens and their representatives get to make informed decisions about government initiatives. Remember all those fraudulent projections of ObamaCare’s cost, back in 2009? They grow more ludicrous by the day. All of the controls and restrictions that were supposed to be part of the deal are getting unilaterally abandoned by the Administration, without proper and lawful congressional debate.
If Obama wants the Affordable Care Act rewritten to allow tax credits for insurance purchased outside the exchanges, he can call for Congress to write, debate, and ratify the necessary modifications… but of course, he doesn’t want to take the political hit from the representative democracy that would ensue, and he can’t wait for the lawful process to reach its conclusion, because his Party is about get slaughtered in a vital election.
At this point, what is the justification for the exchange system at all? A billion dollars at the federal level, counting all the post-launch fixes… probably more than that spent in the states… and for what, if so many people ended up having to ignore the whole mess and buy insurance the old-fashioned way, and they still get their tax credits?
ObamaCare is completely incompatible with the American constitutional system, in every respect – from unconstitutional penalties that had to be rewritten as “taxes” on the fly by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, to constant fine-tuning that violates the law passed by Congress and signed by the President. All of the premises used to pass the ACA have been proven false, from Obama’s vow that it wouldn’t require the cancellation of existing policies, to the highly inconvenient fact that very few people who previously lacked coverage have been interested in signing up. We’re setting hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on fire, and shredding the very constitutional order of our nation, for nothing. The money-burning and Constitution-shredding still wouldn’t be okay if there was a big national payoff at the end, but the almost comical ineffectiveness of ObamaCare at addressing any of the original problems, even as it creates new ones, adds insult to injury.
It’s long past time to spit this garbage out, repeal the Affordable Care Act in full, and begin with a rational series of reforms. There’s not much left to repeal, is there?
Update: Not many people have been signing up for ObamaCare, but tons of them are getting shuffled into Medicaid welfare programs. Illinois, for example, was expecting maybe 200,000 new beneficiaries in the first year, but they’ve already got 315,000 and counting. The system is collapsing under the stress. Watchdog.org speaks of hundreds of millions of dollars coming at Illinois taxpayers, above and beyond the promised federal money. The state government of Illinois is not exactly rolling in dough.
So instead of all the endless millions poured into ObamaCare exchange rat holes, and the billions pumped into new state and federal bureaucracies, we could have honestly debated a massive Medicaid expansion in 2009. That would have provoked a chorus of hysterical laughter and horrified screams from everyone familiar with the creaky Medicaid system, perhaps leading in turn to reasonable and effective reforms. But instead, we got our wallets vacuumed out by ObamaCare, national life was turned upside down, hundreds of thousands of man-hours were wasted wrestling with crap infrastructure, and the Medicaid expansion hit us by stealth.http://www.humanevents.com/2014/02/28/todays-illegal-obamacare-change-subsidies-for-everyone/