More “Obamacare” Exemptions

Andrew JacksonPerhaps there has not been a president, since Andrew Jackson, that has ignored the will of congress, and the American people, as much as Barack Obama has with his pet project, “Obamacare”.

Let’s leave that up to historian’s to determine 50 years from now.

When the Affordable Care Act was being debated in congress, we were told that in order to make the numbers work so that insurance companies could compute a fair premium, all Americans, who were not already eligible for government health insurance, would be required to either buy a compliant health insurance plan or pay a penalty.  That was the reasoning that congress gave us when they forced the PPACA into law on March 22, 2010.

Part of the problem is that the language of the Affordable Care Act cedes some of the duties of congress to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  Since that position is part of the President’s Cabinet, she is a direct employee of the Executive Branch of government and free from any direction of the congress once the Senate confirms her.

By the end of September, 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services listed 12 circumstances that would qualify an American to be exempt from the Individual Mandate for all Americans to either buy compliant health insurance or pay a penalty.

In July, 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that the Individual Mandate was constitutional, but only if it were considered a tax.  It also ruled that congress did not have the authority to require states to expand their Medicaid offerings.

In December of 2013, HHS exempted two more groups from paying the penalty that congress envisioned.  People are now exempt if…,

  • If their individual health insurance was canceled and they “believe” that compliant coverage is affordable.
  • They experienced another “hardship” in obtaining compliant health insurance.

Before you start claiming those exemptions, remember,

  1. They must be applied for in writing
  2. There is no standard time limit for these exemptions
  3. These exemptions must be approved by HHS
  4. All these exemptions do is allow you to buy a catastropic health insurance plan regardless of your age.

On last week of November, 2014, the Obama administration changed the rules again, without the consent of congress.

The Department of Health and Human Services is granting an automatic, and permanent, exemption from the Shared Responsibility Payment for people who live in states that have chosen to exercise the option that the Supreme Court granted to them and not expand Medicaid.  If their household income is between 100% and 138% of the Federal Poverty Level, they are not required to pay for health insurance.  Neither are they required to pay the Shared Responsibility Payment.

However, if they get sick or injured, they can continue to go to the ER of any hospital, that accepts Medicare, and be treated for free.  The hospitals will just pad the bills of the people who have health insurance.

This hacks me off for a couple of reasons.

  1. Health insurance premiums are based on everyone paying their fair share.  When another special interest group gets exempted from the Individual Mandate, it causes everyone’s premiums to go up again.
  2. To me this is just another example of a presidency that is drunk with power.

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