Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday Morning Obamacare Schadenfreude

Yesterday's promised storm front arrived, as previously advertised, on time, at just about 4 PM, turning the Tiki Bar opening into a wet T-shirt contest.  As is commonly the case, the after the front is clear and nice, though the wind is forecast sharply later.  We'll see.  Hopefully we'll get to the beach before that gets going.

Now, about that schadenfreude:

Obamacare delay sparks new mandate fight
Once again, it’s employers who are getting a break from their Obamacare mandate – and that’s sure to increase the pressure on the Obama administration to delay the mandate for individuals, too.

Regulations announced by the Obama administration Monday give two levels of delay to employers who would have had to cover their workers next year. Some businesses will get an extra year – until 2016. And the bigger businesses that do have to worry about the mandate will have it phased in over two years.

It’s the second round of delays to the employer mandate, which will require all businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health coverage or pay a fine. The mandate was originally supposed to start this year – until, under pressure from business groups, it got pushed back until 2015.

Under the new rule, the Treasury Department said businesses with fewer than 100 workers would not be required to cover their workers in 2015 or face a fine. It gave bigger businesses with more than 100 workers extra time to ramp up coverage.
That's because they spent so much time thinking about the consequences of the law, before they passed it so we could see what was in it.

Also Obamacare online glitches: 25 great quotes.  A sample:
“A thousand Social Security numbers being sent to the wrong people is not a glitch!” — CNBC contributor Carol Roth on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Oct. 12
Virginians growing oddly less fond of Medicaid expansion under McAuliffe’s leadership
. . .In Virginia, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe used Medicaid expansion as a centerpiece of his election campaign last year, and he has been trying to make the White House’s case about the seriously-almost-practically-free virtues of expanding Medicaid since he took office earlier this year. Funnily enough, McAuliffe is not only failing to convince the commonwealth’s Republican legislators on the matter — Virginia voters are actually shifting away from the idea in rapid fashion.
The Wason Center at Christopher Newport University poll found that 53 percent of the state’s voters oppose enrolling more Virginians in the federal-state health program for the poor, a sharp reversal from February, when the center found that 56 percent backed expansion.
McAuliffe (D) and a slim majority of the evenly divided state Senate have pushed this year to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, saying it would provide insurance to up to 400,000 needy Virginians and boost the economy. The Republican-dominated House has opposed expansion, raising doubts about the federal government’s ability to pay most of the $2 billion-a-year cost and stressing the need to first rein in the existing Medicaid program.
“Democrats are losing the debate on expanding Medicaid in Virginia,” Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center, said in a written statement. “This is mostly because they are not convincing Independents that it’s a good idea. But even in the usually friendly territory of Northern Virginia, the debate is not going their way.”
The Medicaid debate has stalled out the passage of Virginia’s two-year budget, and worries are already circulating that if the stalemate isn’t solved by the time Virginia’s fiscal year begins on July 1st, the commonwealth could be looking at a shutdown situation. I find this singularly and painfully hilarious, because McAuliffe actually campaigned on being the guy who wouldn’t bring Washington, D.C.-style brinkmanship to Virginia. You can’t make this stuff up.
The Washington Post has taken another victory lap with:  Few have sought exemption from health-care mandate that they have insurance or pay fine
The government left the door wide open for millions of Americans to be excused from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most people must carry health insurance or pay a fine, but so far relatively few have asked for such a pardon.

About 77,000 families and individuals have requested exemptions from the health-care law’s so-called individual mandate, according to internal government documents obtained by The Washington Post. As of April 20, officials had approved tens of thousands of exemption requests and rejected none.

The rest are on hold or in the process of being vetted. Even so, the numbers are relatively small compared with the 8 million who have enrolled in private coverage on the state and federal marketplaces — a sign that people taking action as a result of the health-care law are by and large choosing to comply with the mandate, long the most unpopular aspect of the program.

Republicans have been sharply critical not only of the mandate but also of the many ways a person can skirt it. Various categories of people, including those belonging to certain religious groups, Native Americans and illegal immigrants, may request an exemption. There are also 14 “hardship” categories, some of them rather broad.
My guess is that the kind of people that don't have health insurance from their work, won't pay, or can't pay for it though the Obamacare exchanges, even when subsidized to the the point of being near free, aren't the sort of people who read the papers, know about the "pardon", and are capable of exploiting it.  Mostly they're just poor, unthinking, folk huddling up, and hoping the wave of Obamacare washes over them with as little trouble as possible.

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