They’re calling it a “glitch.” Goodness gracious:
Some families could get priced out of health insurance due to what’s being called a glitch in President Barack Obama’s overhaul law. IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix the problem as liberal backers of the president’s plan had hoped.
As a result, some families that can’t afford the employer coverage that they are offered on the job will not be able to get financial assistance from the government to buy private health insurance on their own. How many people will be affected is unclear.
The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law[*].
Essentially, it breaks down like this: the government is forcing everybody to buy health insurance. The government is also mandating the existence of health care exchanges. If somebody theoretically can’t afford the exchanges, then they theoretically can get subsidies. The rule of thumb for ‘affordability’ was capped at a level designed to keep people from simply dropping their employer coverage. But the rule of thumb was also capped assuming average costs for individual coverage, not average costs for family coverage. As a result, some families will be left in a bad situation: they don’t get family coverage from their employers, they aren’t able to afford the new exchange policies on their own, and they can’t get subsidized because they’re over a badly-designed arbitrary affordability level. And, of course, this is all disproportionally targeting lower-income families.
Well, as Nancy Pelosi (in her increasingly doddering way) said, they had to pass the law in order to find out what was in it.