Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Obama Suspends Individual Healthcare Mandate for Two Years

WSJ reports:

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.


  1. There was news of this several days ago; as I have believed all along, the "health care" part of the bill was a bonus - if any of it got implemented, call it gravy. The real target was the application of a 3.9% payroll-style tax to investment income. A new tax, destined only to increase and to apply to a lower-income threshold over the years:

  2. Perhaps these crooks will also cancel the tax I am now paying in my paycheck and on my investment income. Obama is such a coward (Thank God). He will no doubt go down as probably near the bottom of Presidents, even lower than GWB.

  3. Lower that GWB? Hussein Obama is lower than whale shit, and that's on the bottom of the ocean.

    These extensions before the mandates kick in are for the sole purpose of pissing off as few voters as possible prior to the 2014 and 2016 elections. The Dems know that when people start getting fines and IRS harassment that will be then end of their reign of power.

    Did you know that Obama is gay? Oh yes, he is:

  4. Anyone know if this exemption is still in effect (2015) or more info on how to apply for this or other exemptions? Thanks