From the WSJ:
ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.
More: ObamaCare’s Secret Mandate Exemption – WSJ.com.
Via the NCPA.
People whose health insurance plans were canceled as a result of Obamacare will not be subject to Obamacare’s penalty for being uninsured next year, the administration announced tonight. People whose plans were canceled and are having difficulty paying for a new plan will also be allowed to purchase catastrophic health plans from the exchanges, which had previously been available only to people under the age of 30. …
… it’s hard to justify offering this exemption to the previously insured but not to those who were previously uninsured. A person’s plan is canceled, and as a result that person is not subject to the mandate. But if that person was not insured this year, a person who is otherwise exactly the same is subject to the fine? Good luck selling that one.
via Obama Administration Delays Individual Mandate for People Whose Insurance Policies Were Canceled – Hit & Run : Reason.com.
In the Wall Street Journal, lawyers David R. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey write:
Policy problems aside, by transforming the mandate into a tax to avoid one set of constitutional problems (Congress having exceeded its constitutionally enumerated powers), the court has created another problem. If the mandate is an indirect tax, as the Supreme Court held, then the Constitution’s “Uniformity Clause” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) requires the tax to “be uniform throughout the United States.” The Framers adopted this provision so that a group of dominant states could not shift the federal tax burden to the others. It was yet another constitutional device that was simultaneously designed to protect federalism and safeguard individual liberty.
Read more: The Opening for a Fresh ObamaCare Challenge.
Via Jonathan Adler: The Volokh Conspiracy » The Uniformity Clause – Another ObamaCare Challenge?.
From the Galen Institute’s Resource Guide for Candidates:
Ten Reasons ObamaCare is
A Government Takeover of Health Care
The 2,700-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created the architecture for the government-controlled health care system that the administration is busily constructing through thousands of pages of regulation. Yet some argue that ObamaCare isn’t a government takeover of health care. Here are ten reasons why it is:
- MANDATES For the first time ever, the federal government will force citizens to use their own money to purchase a private product. The fact that the Supreme Court says the penalty for not complying is a tax does not diminish this breathtaking assertion of federal authority. Americans now are compelled to purchase an expensive health insurance product every month for their entire lives. What’s the next purchase the government will compel?
- GOVERNMENT DECIDES The federal government will also determine what health care benefits are “essential” — not us, not our doctors, but government bureaucrats.
- REGULATIONS Doctors and hospitals will face an avalanche of new reporting rules to make sure they are providing medical services that fit the government’s definition of “quality care.”
- 159 NEW BUREAUCRACIES The legislation creates at least 159 new boards, commissions, and programs that will rule over virtually every corner of the health care sector.
- STATES The states are being treated like contractors to the federal government, not sovereign entities empowered by the Constitution. They are ordered to set up new exchange bureaucracies lest the federal government sweep in and do it for them.
- EMPLOYER MANDATE Any employer with more than 50 employees must provide government-decreed health insurance to its workers — or face financial penalties.
- LOSING CURRENT COVERAGE Nearly 80 million people will not have the option of keeping the coverage they get through their jobs, according to results of a survey from McKinsey & Company. Many of them will be forced into the government-run health insurance exchanges.
- HIGHER SPENDING ObamaCare dramatically expands the number of people whose health coverage will be paid for entirely or in part by taxpayers, giving the government more power to decide which medical services millions more people will receive — or not.
- PRIVACY In order to parcel out taxpayer subsidies for insurance, the government and employers are going to need to know a lot more about us. An estimated 16,500 more IRS agents will be needed to check on our income and any changes to family status and our compliance with this massive new law.
- PUBLIC PLANS The law creates the infrastructure for public plans by requiring a federal agency to sponsor at least two national health plans. If private plans are crushed by ObamaCare’s regulations or simply turned into government contractors, these government plans could dominate the market, leading to the government-run health care system that the majority of Americans deplore.
We hope you find this Pro Patient Minute useful. Please feel free to circulate this to friends, family, and associates who need to know the truth about ObamaCare. The whole series is available on our website as Galen Guides. I encourage you to use these resources, distribute them to your networks, and share your ideas with us about how to reach as many people as possible with this message. Our freedom hangs in the balance!
Sally Pipes writes:
President Obama’s healthcare reform package shares some elements of Switzerland’s system, Santésuisse. And it’s tempting to see Switzerland as worthy of imitation — what with its 99 percent coverage rate and life expectancy that’s second only to Japan.
But Obamacare rejects the best ideas the Swiss have to offer — and adopts the worst. Consequently, the president’s healthcare law will not yield the Swiss-style levels of coverage its cheerleaders lust after. …
Some elements of Santésuisse would prove beneficial if implemented in the United States. But Obamacare chose the wrong ones. Indeed, it appears that the lessons from Switzerland’s healthcare system have thus far been lost in translation.
via Obamacare Adapts The Worst Of Swisscare, Rejects The Best – Forbes.
At Forbes.com, Grace-Marie Turner outlines the income-dependent penalties (“taxes”) for not buying a legal medical insurance policy:
So just how much is that new ObamaCare tax going to cost you? For some people, a lot more than you have been hearing.
The individual mandate section of the health overhaul law outlines the structure of the “taxes” that must be paid by those who don’t buy government-approved health insurance – starting at $95 a year the first year for individuals. Many people are thinking it will be much cheaper to simply pay the tax than to buy policies that will cost thousands of dollars more. …
Surely every family will be making its own calculations and cost-benefit analyses involving the health insurance mandate. McKinsey & Company has reported that as many as 30 to 40 million Americans could forgo health insurance, with some figuring they can purchase a policy whenever they are facing expensive medical bills.
More: How Much Is The Obamacare Mandate Going To Cost You? – Forbes.
Jacob Sullum writes:
After Obamacare was enacted in 2010, the Congressional Budget Office projected that some 4 million Americans would choose to pay a penalty in 2016 rather than comply with the health insurance mandate. Testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee last week, Steven G. Bradbury, who headed the White House Office of Legal Counsel under George W. Bush, argued that number “will be considerably greater” once people understand they have no legal obligation to buy coverage. In fact, since the penalty is essentially unenforceable, it is possible that it won’t produce any revenue to speak of, which would make it an odd tax indeed.
Read more Obamacares Uneforceable Linchpin – Reason.com.
With Avik Roy’s argument that the penalty (“tax”) for not buying government-approved insurance, it’s likely that ObamaCare will create an adverse selection death spiral in the non-group market, which will destroy it.