From the Washington Post’s Wonkblog: “Today, the Obama administration announced that people whose insurance plans were canceled this year will ‘temporarily’ be exempted from the law’s individual mandate.”
1. The individual mandate includes a “hardship exemption.” People who qualify can either ignore the individual mandate altogether or purchase a cheap, bare-bones catastrophic insurance plan that’s typically only available to people under 30.
2. According to HHS, the exemption covers people who “experienced financial or domestic circumstances, including an unexpected natural or human-caused event, such that he or she had a significant, unexpected increase in essential expenses that prevented him or her from obtaining coverage under a qualified health plan.”
3. Today, the administration agreed with a group of senators, led by Mark Warner of Virginia, who argued that having your insurance plan canceled counted as “an unexpected natural or human-caused event.” For these people, in other words, Obamacare itself is the hardship.
Yes, it is. I think we can keep Obamacare in place, simply announce that the entire nation is now under “hardship” and give everyone the right to opt out. Makes total sense.
Of course, this administration has no interest in making sense, so they are continuing in an inconsistent manner by making some people submit to the individual mandate while others are allowed to opt out. Why should people who have never felt they could afford insurance be forced to buy it while others who could afford insurance are permitted to get minimal plans that don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act? Under the law, a person “who can purchase qualifying insurance for less than 8 percent of their income,” is required to do so. How can the Administration simultaneously claim that the standard is right for some people but not for others?
Notice that the rationale here is that some people need special help. But why don’t people who could never afford insurance not also deserve that same help?
The Wonkblog claims that no one really knows how many people have lost their insurance. The Obama Administration claims that the numbers are merely in the hundreds of thousands. But later in the post, tellingly, it claims that insurance companies are worried that the White House is significantly underestimating how many have lost their insurance.
Once again, this allows relatively healthy people to opt out of the Obamacare insurance pool and leave those plans with more sick people.
Obamacare is proving a hardship for everyone.