Author Topic: WSJ: ObamaCare's Secret Mandate Exemption - No Obamacare Penalty for 2 More Years  (Read 588 times)

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Offline Oceander

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WSJ Editorial:  ObamaCare's Secret Mandate Exemption

March 11, 2014 7:15 p.m. ET

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.

*  *  *

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.

*  *  *

So why are ObamaCare liberals silently gutting their own creation now?

The answers are the implementation fiasco and politics.  HHS revealed Tuesday that only 940,000 people signed up for an ObamaCare plan in February, bringing the total to about 4.2 million, well below the original 5.7 million projection.  The predicted "surge" of young beneficiaries isn't materializing even as the end-of-March deadline approaches, and enrollment decelerated in February.

*  *  *

HHS is also trying to pre-empt the inevitable political blowback from the nasty 2015 tax surprise of fining the uninsured for being uninsured, which could help reopen ObamaCare if voters elect a Republican Senate this November.  Keeping its mandate waiver secret for now is an attempt get past November and in the meantime sign up as many people as possible for government-subsidized health care.  Our sources in the insurance industry are worried the regulatory loophole sets a mandate non-enforcement precedent, and they're probably right.  The longer it is not enforced, the less likely any President will enforce it.

The larger point is that there have been so many unilateral executive waivers and delays that ObamaCare must be unrecognizable to its drafters, to the extent they ever knew what the law contained.


(Emphasis mine)

Offline Oceander

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Everybody - and I mean everybody - should be claiming these exemptions.  If you didn't have your plan cancelled, then you should claim the second exemption - the one for people who believe they've suffered some sort of (unspecified) hardship related to health care insurance.  Even if you didn't suffer any hardship other than the extra time and effort to find a new plan and sign up for it.

This is a "poll" if you will - a survey, essentially, of how many people have been hurt by Obamacare and, to borrow a phrase many should be familiar with, should be FReeped (or TBRed, if you will) by having as many people as possible claim this second exemption.  After all, you only need to have a subjective belief that you've suffered some minimal sort of hardship, and you don't even have to provide any documentation to back your belief up.

Basically, if we all push as hard as we can now and use this as a handy-dandy democrat-provided wedge, we can accelerate the point at which it will become evident to everyone, although hardcore liberals will continue to deny their own knowledge, that Obamacare is a failure.  The sooner we can prove that, the sooner we can start getting it repealed.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 11:34:48 AM by Oceander »

Online EC

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Too early, Oceander. Be better hitting that in August/September. Makes it impossible to spin away before November if it gets left until later in the year. Do it now and the Dems can point to all these people successfully signed up.
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Offline Oceander

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Too early, Oceander. Be better hitting that in August/September. Makes it impossible to spin away before November if it gets left until later in the year. Do it now and the Dems can point to all these people successfully signed up.

I would imagine that the claim for dispensation is made on one's tax return.


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