Last week one of my clients called me after he got his health insurance renewal. He wanted to know if just his premiums were increasing or if the increase could be blamed on Obamacare. I had to share with him that some of the premium increase he got was due to new mandates in Obamacare but there were other variables at plan. Obamacare does not deserve all the blame.
After I hung up with him I checked out Facebook. One of my friends had shared an “infographic” in support of Obamacare.
The experience reinforces a thought that has been running through my head for a couple of years. In my 5 decades of life in America, I have never seen the nation as divided as it is. Keep in mind that I lived through the Viet Nam conflict, E.R.A. and Watergate. I have seen one president, Nixon, forced to resign and another, Clinton, impeached. I watched Oliver North testify about Arms for Hostages and heard president Carter apologize to the nation for doing a bad job.
None of them even came close to the amount of political division that has been caused by Obamacare.
Part of the problem is that people are talking either in support or opposition to a political ideal. Few have taken the time to actually read the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In this post I want to share some of the things that the law actually says and what has been done.
TITLE VIII – C.L.A.S.S.
Over vehement protest, the PPACA was passed into law. One of the more controversial sections of the law was Ted Kennedy’s, “Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act.”
The plan, as written, was flawed to begin with. It was a plan to set up a government-run program similar to existing private Long Term Care insurance programs. C.L.A.S.S. have no effect on those who are currently retired. Neither could people participate in it if they were going to retire in the next 5 years. It would never have passed on its own merit. It had to be attached to legislation that would pass through the 111st congress.
Regardless of how it became law, however, when the PPACA was signed into law, so was the C.L.A.S.S. Act. The C.L.A.S.S. act reads, “The Secretary, in consultation with appropriate actuaries and other experts, shall develop at least 3 actuarially sound benefit plans as alternatives for consideration for designation by the Secretary as the CLASS Independence Benefit Plan under which eligible beneficiaries shall receive benefits under this title.”
Please note that the law reads, “The Secretary…shall.” It does not give the Secretary of Health and Human services any options. According to the letter of the law, the Secretary was instructed to make something happen.
In October of 2011 the Secretary of Health and Human Services told congress that she was not able to find “3 actuarially sound benefit plans.” In December of 2011 president Obama suspended work on C.L.A.S.S. Although he would not entertain any thought of removing C.L.A.S.S. from the law, he unilaterally, without any vote of congress, chose to ignore Title VIII rather than spend the time and money required to find a way to make it work.
UNIFORM COMPARISON STANDARDS
Section 2715 of Obamacare reads, “Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Secretary shall develop standards for use by a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage, in compiling and providing to applicants, enrollees, and policyholders or certificate holders a summary of benefits and coverage explanation that accurately describes the benefits and coverage under the applicable plan or coverage.”
In other words, by March 23, 2011 the Secretary of Health and Human Services was mandated by congress to make certain that there was a standard way for Americans to compare one health insurance policy to all the others. Today is July 6, 2012. As of today the Secretary of Health and Human Services has still not coordinated the enforcement of this section of Obamacare.
These are just a couple of examples of the disregard the current Executive Branch has shown to the Legislative Branch of our government. For those who still believe that Obamacare is designed to improve the health care of Americans it is time to wake up. While the health care debate may have begun in order to find a way to share health insurance to all Americans, it lost that altruistic defense years ago. Obamacare is nothing more than a political ideal.
If the Executive Branch of government is going to pick which parts of the law to enforce and which parts can be ignored, the entire document is not worth the paper it is printed on.