Posts Tagged ‘ObamaCare’
When Congress was scrambling to pass Obamacare back in 2010, they certainly made some missteps in the nearly 1,000 pages of text. One such misstep was to limit subsidies that Americans can receive for purchasing health insurance to plans purchased “through an exchange established by the state.” A smug president and Congress assumed that all states would set up their own exchanges—local Healthcare.gov type sites—so there would be no cause for concern.
But now there is. Numerous states, including our own, accurately concluded that setting up a state exchange would be too costly and the strings attached by the federal government not worth the headache. So they left the Obama administration to set up its own exchanges in the states, where some 4.5 million Americans have now purchased health insurance.
Back to that phrase about “exchange established by the state.” According to the plain language of the law, those purchasing insurance through a federal exchange do not qualify for subsidies, because the federal government is not at all a “state.” Despite the clear wording, the Obama administration realized the mistake and quickly acted to “correct” it via a unilateral rule passed by the IRS.
In today’s decision, the D.C. Court of Appeals sided with common sense and the letter of the law, ruling that no subsidies can flow through federally-created exchanges like the one in Tennessee, and repudiating the executive branch’s attempts to just re-write laws duly passed by Congress.
This means that without the subsidies, many of those purchasing insurance through Healthcare.gov cannot afford coverage, and may drop their plan altogether and pay the fine instead. The ability of the Obama administration to hook millions of Americans onto Obamacare relies considerably on the carrot represented by these subsidies. Without that carrot, enrollees simply get the stick.
This isn’t the end of the road, but it’s a severe blow for Obamacare, and it has far greater implications for the future of the law than even the Hobby Lobby case a few weeks ago. The appellate court’s full panel can review the case and possibly overturn the ruling, but the decision definitely increases the probability that this issue will wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court. If the high court does its job, it will uphold the plain language of the statute, striking down the IRS rule. Let’s hope “what we meant to say was…” is not accepted as a viable excuse for one branch unilaterally changing the law passed by another. If it is, we have even bigger problems on our hands than Obamacare.
July 22nd, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News
I beg your pardon for my dramatic eye roll upon hearing the news that the Obama administration has given Tennessee, and TennCare Director Darin Gordon, an ultimatum: address the administration’s concerns over our state’s supposedly sluggish implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in ten days, or else.
Cindy Mann, head of Medicaid, and the Obama White House are apparently disappointed in Tennessee’s progress of unrolling our portion of the largest socialist program overhaul to hit the United States in our lifetimes. Never mind that the integrity of the federal exchange system on healthcare.gov that launched in October 2013 continues to be compromised by improper enrollment processing, loss of critical data, and other vital information. I suppose we should also ignore the fact that delay at the state level was due in no small part to Obama’s inability to settle on a final policy and the many changes that continue to be made to the ACA in these previous months. Instead, the administration is conveniently disregarding their role in this boondoggle and essentially telling Tennessee officials that regardless of who made the mess, it is their job to mop it up and make sure that an inherently flawed program runs smoothly.
This business of creating disasters at the federal level and blaming states once the failures are magnified at the local level has become a national epidemic with regional implications. We see it with the newly socialized healthcare system under Obamacare, the scandals within the Veterans Affairs administration, and magnified by the heartbreaking circumstances faced by several states at our nation’s Southern border. What if Tennessee (and other states) had told the feds they have ten days to fix healthcare.gov or else? Where was that ten-day standard when veterans were left to die or languish on waiting lists? What if our sister states down South told the Obama administration that they had ten days to solve the plight of the children isolated in deteriorating conditions at border patrol centers—or else?
The consequences wrought by this administration for Tennesseans and Americans across the country are beyond infuriating. They are an embarrassment to our national character and plights now being thrust upon state and local governments. Isn’t it funny that those in Washington believe they are the solution to every problem, except the problems that they create? For the Obama administration to shake its finger in the faces of Tennessee officials over complications from their federally misguided healthcare program is, on the surface, a complete joke. And beneath the surface, not a laughing matter at all.
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July 9th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News
White House has a new study out claiming that our state’s failure to expand Medicaid is depriving 234,000 Tennesseans of health insurance, if you want to call the coverage they would receive insurance that is. As Beacon has pointed out in the past, studies show that those on Medicaid have no better health outcomes than those without insurance at all, and being enrolled in the program virtually assures that one will have a tough time finding a doctor. Already, 40% of primary care physicians refuse to see new Medicaid patients. Oh, and the cost of expansion to taxpayers? More than $1 billion between now and 2022. No matter what spin the White House wants to put on it, adding more people to an already-strained program is not only unaffordable for taxpayers, it’s also immoral for those without insurance. We can do better.