Obamacare subsidies based on honor system

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Obamacare subsidies based on honor system

Post by Sir Pun on Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:25 am

The White House seems to regard laws as mere suggestions, including the laws it helped to write. On the heels of last week's one-year suspension of the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate to offer insurance to workers, the Administration is now waiving a new batch of its own ObamaCare prescriptions.
These disclosures arrived inside a 606-page catch-all final rule that the Health and Human Services Department published on July 5—a classic Friday news dump, with extra credit for the holiday weekend. HHS now says it will no longer attempt to verify individual eligibility for insurance subsidies and instead will rely on self-reporting, with minimal efforts to verify if the information consumers provide is accurate.
Remember "liar loans," the low- or no-documentation mortgages that took borrowers at their word without checking pay stubs or W-2s? ObamaCare is now on the same honor system, with taxpayers in tow.
People are supposed to receive subsidies only if their employer does not provide federally approved health benefits. Since HHS now won't require business to report those benefits or enforce the standards until 2015, it says it can't ask ObamaCare's "exchange" bureaucracies to certify who qualifies either.
HHS calls this "a slight technical correction" though it is much more than that. The exchanges will not only start dispensing benefits "based on an applicant's attestation" about his employment insurance status. HHS is also handing the exchanges "temporarily expanded discretion to accept an attestation of projected annual household income without further verification."
In other words, anyone can receive subsidies tied to income without judging the income they declare against the income data the Internal Revenue Service collects. This change has nothing to do with the employer mandate, even tangentially. HHS is disowning eligibility quality control because pre-clearance is "not feasible" as a result of "operational barriers" and "a large amount of systems development on both the state and federal side, which cannot occur in time for October 1, 2013."
You've got to love that passive voice. It's true that coordinating and managing vast amounts of information from hundreds of millions of Americans and corporations, and monitoring compliance with more than 10,000 pages of fine-print Federal Register regulations so far, is hard to do. Yet that is the system Democrats installed when they passed the law, which is not supposed to be optional due to administrative incompetence.
HHS promises to develop "a more robust verification process," some day, but the result starting in October may be millions of people getting subsidies who don't legally qualify. This would mean huge increases in ObamaCare spending. Some of these folks could be fraudsters, much as 21% to 25% of Earned Income Tax Credits flow to people who aren't eligible, according to the Treasury inspector general. The same error rate for ObamaCare would amount to as much as $250 billion in improper payments in its first decade.
The irony in the case of ObamaCare is that liberal health policy is predicated on the notion that if Congress commands something on paper, it will happen in the real world. Architects Peter Orszag and Ezekiel Emanuel are still claiming against all evidence that their policy experiments in human behavior modification will yield huge cost savings.
Yet now we are discovering that Democrats passed a bill that is so large and convoluted that even they can't implement it in practice. So don't be surprised if millions of individuals decide they're eligible for the subsidies, or should be, and wait for someone eventually to say they aren't.
Liberals are also now claiming that the employer mandate and these eligibility rules were never important parts of ObamaCare. This is revisionist history, not least because the mandate and eligibility limits helped reduce the cost as measured by the Congressional Budget Office.
The revisionism is also false because every provision of ObamaCare is supposed to "solve" a problem created by some other provision of the bill. Kick out one of the struts like the business mandate and the whole apparatus becomes even more unstable. In the case of the lawless decision to shelve any income or employer insurance scrutiny, HHS's logistical challenges are real. But our bet is that the Administration is also using them as a pretense in a deliberate bid to make it much easier to join the exchanges.
That's because the health planners are terrified that enough healthy, low-cost people won't sign up and therefore the Affordable Care Act's strict regulations on underwriting and risk-pooling will blow up insurance markets. As more and more of ObamaCare tumbles, the Administration is resorting to anything that can salvage the goal of permanently expanding the U.S. entitlement state.
All of this fits with ObamaCare's entire bloody-minded history. Democrats were determined to make their rendezvous with the liberal destiny of government-run health care, so they imposed this debacle on the country on a partisan vote and despite public opposition. Now that they are discovering how difficult it is to remake one-sixth of the U.S. economy, they are rewriting the law as they go and telling Americans they have no choice but to live with the consequences.

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Re: Obamacare subsidies based on honor system

Post by Dennis324 on Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:55 pm

Look at this monstrosity....



this is a picture of House Speaker John Boehner standing next to the printed version of...Obamacare.

Are they kidding????  Who could read this garbage???  How can any senator or representative be expected to vote on something like this???  Who would write this?? 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) famously stated that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”  Man that woman is borderline ignorant.

 Max Baucus (D-Mont.), lead sponsor of the Senate bill that became law he hasn't even read the bill.  He's one of the bill's authors!  According to Baucus, the idea of him reading a bill allocating nearly $1 trillion of federal funds is “a waste of time:” 
LINK  “I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the health care bill. You know why? It’s statutory language,” Baucus said. “We hire experts.”

No Mr. Baucus...not a waste of time, a waste of taxpayer money.

This, more than anything imo, is why Congress has such a low favorability rating.  Its the stupidity, the aggravation, the foolishness.  I think there ought to be a law that says that if you cant sit down and read the whole bill within 1 hour, it gets thrown out automatically.

Furthermore, each elected official should have to be the one to read the bill...not someone they hired.

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Re: Obamacare subsidies based on honor system

Post by Sir Pun on Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:57 am

I agree, but more than anything this is a real world representation of the bureaucratic monster we have in DC. The bill itself started out as 2000 pages. The rest of that is bureaucratic regulations; the real meat and potatoes of obamacares implementation. So what the pols actually voted on, only represented about 10% of that stack

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Re: Obamacare subsidies based on honor system

Post by Dennis324 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:35 pm

I wonder if it would be possible to get one of our elected reps to introduce a resolution that would limit bills to 'X' number of pages one could read in 1 hour and that each rep had to read and sign the bill himself, rather than farm it out to a lackey?

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Re: Obamacare subsidies based on honor system

Post by Sir Pun on Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:40 am

Many reps talked about and may hav even tried to introduce legislation, but if so it was squashed.

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