The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent for the first time since 2000, with the economy gaining 164,000 jobs in April, according to data released Friday morning by the Department of Labor.And, as expected, liberals decided employment was no longer a useful economic measure:
The unemployment rate is meaningless. Here’s what you should look at instead. https://t.co/Ws4YrLtHAi pic.twitter.com/D3XDkye8dZ— Slate (@Slate) May 5, 2018
Trump saves millions of working-class families from Obamacare penalty
The Trump administration just quietly made it possible to escape having to pay the Obamacare fine imposed for not having health insurance in 2018, potentially saving millions of families hundreds or even thousands of dollars in penalties.
When congressional Republicans passed tax reform in December, they gutted the provision of the Affordable Care Act mandating uninsured Americans pay a fee for not having “qualifying” health insurance. Although this important decision will provide tax relief to millions of people forced to pay a fine for not being enrolled in a health insurance plan the government approves of, a completely ridiculous mandate that greatly limits freedom, the new policy does not go into effect until 2019, which means families are still required to have health insurance this year to avoid paying the penalty.
The Affordable Care Act allows for people who do not have qualifying health insurance to escape paying the penalty if they apply for at least one of a few available “hardship exemptions.” Perhaps the most common exemption allows people to escape the penalty if they “experienced financial or domestic circumstances, including an unexpected natural or human-caused event, such that … [they had] a significant, unexpected increase in essential expenses that prevented [them] from obtaining coverage under a qualified health plan.”
Earlier in April, the Trump administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a new guidance expanding the allowed exemptions to include four new qualifying circumstances: (1) living in a region where there is just one health insurer selling plans in an Obamacare marketplace, (2) living in a region where there are no plans sold on an Obamacare exchange, (3) the lack of availability of a plan that doesn’t include coverage for abortion, and (4) when a person is unable to find a plan on the Obamacare exchange that covers the “specialty care” needed.
These four added exemptions will make it possible for millions of people now forced to pay the Obamacare mandate penalty to escape liability, especially the provision that permits people living in a region with only one insurer to avoid the fine. According to CMS’ most recent analysis of Obamacare exchanges, people living in half of all counties in the United States have only one health insurer to choose from when purchasing a qualifying plan through Obamacare. All these people (about 2.1 million) would not be forced to pay a fine for not having qualifying health insurance under the Trump administration’s new guidance.
Most Americans who are forced to pay the Obamacare penalty are not upper-middle class or wealthy families, but rather lower-income filers. IRS data for 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, show more than 6.6 million people were forced to pay the Obamacare fine. Nearly 79 percent of those required to pay reported adjusted gross incomes between $10,000 and $50,000, which means the penalty disproportionately punishes lower-income and working-class people.
This is particularly troubling because of how expensive Obamacare plans have become in recent years. Many annual family deductibles for the cheapest qualifying Obamacare plans, Bronze Plans, now top $12,000. Forcing people to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year for health insurance they can’t afford to use is morally wrong, but thanks to congressional Democrats and the Obama administration, that’s the current situation facing countless families across the country.
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