Monday, February 23, 2015

Obamacare Schadenfreude for Babies

Obamacare is for the kids, right? Not so fast.

ObamaCare exchange not allowing addition of newborns to policies
With all of the new bad news coming out this week from ObamaCare, here’s another horror story about the exchange from Utah that exemplifies the incompetence of government bureaucracy. One basic and nearly ubuquitous feature of health care — and indeed of family life — is the birth of children. Health insurance plans have made it simple to add children to family plans for decades, allowing new moms and dads to have the costs of childbirth covered ex post facto, as long as the covered individual notified the insurer within a set period of time, usually 30 days. Now, however, the federal exchange requires an extra step that turns the process into a needless catch-22 — and leaves families exposed to devastating financial damage.
Maggie and John, Shawnsi and Robin each got paired with their own health insurance company thanks to the act and now, naturally, they want to add their children to their policies.
Federal law does not allow their insurance companies to add the kids directly. Each mother must go back to the healthcare marketplace to add their child.
All three families attempted to add their newborns within the 30-day window of the child being born, as is required, but each was denied.
“The marketplace said it was required we had to go through CHIP,” Maggie said.
CHIP stands for the Children’s Health Insurance Policy. It is a program offered by the state of Utah to help insure kids whose parents can’t afford it. But each of these families do fine for themselves financially so they don’t qualify for CHIP.
CHIP (actually, the P stands for Program) is the federal-state welfare program that insures the children of low-income Americans. Why do new parents have to apply to CHIP at all, if they know they can’t qualify — and if they already have family health insurance? Why bother with this extra bureaucracy if parents clearly make too much money to enter the program, and don’t want to apply anyway? Presumably, this is an attempt at saving money in the exchanges, although certainly not for families, who may have to pay up to 5% of their income for coverage. (The ObamaCare exchange coverage is capped at 9.5% of income for family plans.) HHS is filtering additions of newborns specifically to keep them from enrolling in exchange plans if possible:
. . .
After KUTV began making calls, the three families in this story mysteriously had the obstacles removed for their coverage. It’s not what you know in government-run bureaucracies, but who you know … and who you embarrass. That’s one great reason among many to get government out of the business of running marketplaces rather than just regulating them.
Separation of Church and State? Not when it come to the church of Obamacare: HHS Pushes Church Talking Points, Bulletins to Promote Obamacare
In an effort to sign up as many consumers as possible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), the Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to partner with churches and other faith-based groups, even publishing sample church bulletin inserts, flyers, and scripts for announcements, as well as "talking points." These materials are part of the "Second Sunday & Faith Weekend of Action Toolkit," which is available on the website of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

From the beginning, HHS has sought to develop partnerships with faith-based organizations to promote the Obamacare. This "toolkit" has been available since 2013. However, the details of these partnerships have largely escaped the attention of the national media. The Second Sunday & Faith Weekend of Action program encourages churches to use the second Sunday of each month during open enrollment to hold informational meetings and sign-up events. The sample bulletin insert appears as follows:

Because it was so well planned: Obamacare deadline extended a week for some. Do you qualify?
The Obamacare deadline for 2015 has been extended to Sunday, Feb. 22, for people who say they attempted to sign up but were delayed by busy call centers and technical issues. In some cases, Obamacare signup delays also were brought on by winter storms.

If you started, but never finished, enrolling for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act before the Feb. 15 deadline, you’ve got another week to wrap things up.
The deadline for so-called Obamacare in 2015 has been extended to Sunday, Feb. 22, for people who say they attempted to get signed up but were slowed down by busy call centers or technical issues on

“We know many of you worked hard to enroll in a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace,” read an announcement Tuesday on the federalDepartment of Health and Human Services website. “Despite your best efforts, you may not have been able to complete your application and select a plan.”
Gum Will Be on Democrats' Shoe if Court Upends Health Law
So whom will the public blame if the court knocks out subsidies on the federal exchange? As this past election made clear, the public associates the ACA with the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. They know it passed without a single Republican vote and blame Democrats for its deficiencies. The ACA has been enduringly unpopular from its passage in 2010 to the present. The Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll reports that over the past four years, 42 percent is the highest favorability rate the act has received. Unfavorable opinions have been consistently higher.

Many Americans are still seething over the loss of insurance plans they liked and could afford. Everyone remembers the chaotic rollout of the website and many report continued problems signing up. They know that the drafting of the law was sloppy and that it was passed in a rush, skirting normal congressional procedures.

While most Americans may not understand the legal subtleties, they realize that Obamacare only survived the earlier Supreme Court challenge to the individual mandate because Chief Justice John Roberts was willing to manipulate the statutory language in order to save it. They will not be surprised or disappointed if this time the court refuses to rewrite the seemingly clear statutory language limiting subsidies to exchanges created by states and not exchanges created by the federal government.

Remarkably, the Obama administration has refused to discuss contingency plans and Democratic senators have said they don’t believe Democrats need to prepare for a potential adverse decision. Any administration regulatory fix will be limited by the language of the court’s decision, and it is unlikely the subsidy issue could be corrected without legislative action. Congress could amend the ACA to allow subsidies on federal exchanges, but Republicans who have spent the last five years opposing the ACA won’t let that happen. State governments could act to establish exchanges, but they have already shown they are unwilling (red states) or unable (Oregon, a blue state, ditched its malfunctioning exchange and went federal) to do so. It is not easy to set up an exchange, and an ACA provision providing money to do so has expired.

Democrats seem content to sit on their hands in the belief that the public will blame Republicans for challenging the ACA and for not having an alternative. But contrary to the Democrats’ narrative, Republicans have proposed ACA replacements which were dead on arrival in the previous Democratic-controlled Senate.
An optimistic point of view. Unfortunately it doesn't take into account the almost total domination of the MSM by liberals, who will solidly spin this as a Republican problem.

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