One of the things we’ve touched on occasionally how Barack Obama has been unilaterally rewriting parts of the Obamacare as problems emerge. On Friday, we had the most blatant example yet:
The Obama administration, in an 11th-hour change, announced significant exemptions for people who recently lost their insurance coverage and are struggling to get a new plan — drawing immediate criticism from the insurance industry and Republican lawmakers.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius confirmed the changes, which include letting those individuals skirt the law’s individual mandate, in a letter to senators. She said she would allow people who got cancellations and could not find affordable new coverage to qualify for a “hardship exemption” in order to avoid a penalty next year for not having insurance.
Further, she announced that those individuals will be able to purchase bare-bones plans that until now were available only for people under 30.
The law does allow the President to grant hardship exemptions from the “tax” backing up the purchase mandate. But granting a blanket exemption to an estimated five million people is beyond the scope of that (and, incidentally, moves us quite a bit closer to what the Republicans were demanding during the shutdown). It is also yet again threatening to plunge the insurance markets into chaos. The insurance companies were relying on the mandate to exist so they wouldn’t be over a barrel when it came to insuring people with pre-existing conditions. The mandate is the Ace of Hearts in the house of cards that is Obamacare.
This isn’t a game. This is people’s insurance and the survival of the individual insurance market. The time to make an exemption was months ago (you know, when the Administration was informed that the exchanges weren’t anywhere close to working). They are trying to rewrite the law to accommodate their own incompetence.