WSJ: Obama Repeals Obamacare

WSJ: Obama Repeals Obamacare
December 22, 2013

Jim Lakely

Jim Lakely is director of communications at The Heartland Institute, co-director of Heartland’s... (read full bio)
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If you missed Friday’s devastating Wall Street Journal editorial you should get over there and read it. If you are now suffering because of the Obamcare Disaster, it might bring you a smidgen of solace. If you are among those who are poised to suffer because of Obamacare, it will do for now as top-grade schadenfreude.

For weeks, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney derided the policies people liked and could afford as “junk.” Today, that “junk” is apparently treasure. The Obama administrationdeclared Thursday night that anyone who lost their health plan because Obamacare forced their insurance company to cancel the policy can either claim a “hardship exemption” and purchase new a “catastrophic” plan they can afford, or buy no insurance at all and not pay the penalty/tax. To paraphrase  the Wall Street Journal and my friends on Twitter: Obamacare itself is now a hardship by which to exempt oneself from the law.

What a mess — one predicted by Heartland’s Peter Ferrara years ago, andHeartland’s Benjamin Domenech nearly every day since. But this is no time to gloat. The Obamacare scam is creating real suffering, and legions of unwilling new suckers every day.

For instance, the new unilateral and unlawful “adjustment” to Obamacare applies to those who have had their plans canceled because of the law. What about those who didn’t have insurance before, but can’t afford the “not-junk” policies in the Obamacare exchanges? Sorry, Obama’s new “adjustment” in the law doesn’t apply to you. And what about all those who were once insured, had their policies canceled, but dug deep and agreed to pay the much higher premiums and deductables in the Obamacare exchanges? Tough luck, suckers.

Or, as the WSJ editorial put it:

So merry Christmas. If ObamaCare’s benefit and income redistribution requirements made your old, cheaper, better health plan illegal, you now have the option of going without coverage without the government taking your money as punishment. You can also claim the tautological consolation of an ObamaCare hardship exemption due to ObamaCare itself.

These exemptions were supposed to go only to the truly destitute such as the homeless, bankrupts or victims of domestic violence. But this week a group of six endangered Senate Democrats importuned HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to “clarify” that the victims of ObamaCare also qualify. . . .

HHS and the Senators must have coordinated in advance because literally overnight HHS rushed out a bulletin noting that exemptions are available to those 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.” A tornado destroys the neighborhood or ObamaCare blows up the individual insurance market, what’s the difference?

The difference is you can rebuild your home, and a community can rebuild an entire neighborhood. It seems unlikely we’ll be able to rebuild a private health insurance system that worked just fine for the vast majority of Americans after Obama tore it apart. A bit more:

What an incredible political turnabout. Mr. Obama and HHS used to insist that the new plans are better and less expensive after subsidies than the old “substandard” insurance. Now they’re conceding that at least some people should be free to choose less costly plans if they prefer—or no plan—and ObamaCare’s all-you-can-eat benefits rules aren’t necessary for quality health coverage after all.

But the White House is shredding ObamaCare’s economics on its own terms. Premiums for catastrophic products are based on the assumption that enrollees would be under 30. A 55-year-old will now get a steep discount on care courtesy of the insurer’s balance sheet, while other risk-tiers on the exchanges will have even fewer customers to make the actuarial math work.

Pulling the thread of the individual mandate also means that the whole scheme could unravel.

We can only hope so. Definitely read the whole thing.

Jim Lakely

Jim Lakely is director of communications at The Heartland Institute, co-director of Heartland’s... (read full bio)