Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who helped design the Massachusetts health law that was the model for Obamacare, was a key influence on the creation of the law. He was widely quoted in the media. During the crafting of the law, the Obama administration brought him on for his expertise. He was paid almost $400,000 to consult with the administration on the law. And he has claimed to have written part of the legislation, the section dealing with small business tax credits.
After the law passed, in 2011 and throughout 2012, multiple states sought his expertise to help them understand their options regarding the choice to set up their own exchanges. During that period of time, in January of 2012, Gruber told an audience at Noblis, a technical management support organization, that tax credits—the subsidies available for health insurance—were only available in states that set up their own exchanges.
2012 Video shows major Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber confirm that subsidies were meant only for state exchanges.
And it’s a sockeldanger.
New IRS draft 1040 form shows Obamacare indiv. mandate under “Other Taxes” — line 61: pic.twitter.com/0oWbEwkXur
— John Kartch (@johnkartch) July 25, 2014
Line 6: it’s official and the federal government has to admit it. The individual mandate is a tax. That means that changing it even by a penny is – no fooling, seriously, this is not something that you can just executive-order away – only possible via an Act of Congress. This will not happen (Obamacare was designed to keep Republicans out of the loop for as long as possible) which means that the current very low penalties for noncompliance are never going to get any higher.
Shoot, at the rate things are going paying the fine and getting insurance on your own will be a pretty good deal. Assuming, of course, that the Supreme Court doesn’t make the whole thing moot by declaring that the individual mandate is invalid in federal exchange states*.
*Yup, Halbig. If the government can’t provide subsidies to a state that doesn’t have an exchange, effectively the mandate goes away for that state. Dang but the Democrats are bad at writing legislation, huh?
Mind you, this isn’t a bug.
An undercover operation found that the majority of fake Obamacare applications submitted were approved by the health law’s enrollment system.
Fake applicants were able to get subsidized insurance coverage in 11 of 18 attempts, according to a report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The agency conducted the sting operation to test the strength of the Affordable Care Act’s eligibility-verification system.
The findings will be discussed at a House Ways and Means hearing Wednesday. They were revealed in an advance copy of the testimony from Seto Bagdoyan, head of GAO’s Forensic Audits and Investigative Service, provided to the Associated Press.
More accurately, the administration hasn’t particularly acted as if this sort of thing was a bug. A scam still counted as a signup, after all: and the Obama administration was absolutely desperate to get signups, pretty much by any means necessary. Note: I am not saying that the administration deliberately let people scam the system. I am saying that keeping people from scamming the system was in no way a priority for anybody involved with Obamacare.
Not that one should expect the Democrats to be anything but cavalier with your tax money, of course. Far too many of them are bitter about the fact that you technically had that money to be taxed in the first place.
There’s no sugar-coating this: the numbers are awful for Obamacare. Jim sums it up as ‘disapproval in the low to mid-50s, approval in the low to mid-40s’ – and that’s long term, and it’s unlikely to get any better for the administration, either. I really cannot see how the Democrats hope to campaign on Obamacare; their best bet is to, well, hide from it.
No, I don’t know how they hope to do that, either. There’s going to be some ugly premium numbers coming out in a couple of months.
Hot Air has the details: short version is, tomorrow the DC Circuit Court will rule whether or not the Obama administration actually has the authority to offer subsidies to people who signed up for Obamacare on the federal exchanges. The answer to that is… maybe it did, and maybe it didn’t, and the courts will let us know any day now. Needless to say, the following will happen if it turns out that all those people who thought that they were getting subsidies do not:
Allahpundit’s in Classic Allahpundit Worry Mode over the situation, and it’s fair to say that it could blow up in the GOP’s face if the subsidies go away and the Republicans refuse to authorize them. Then again, it’s equally fair to say that a President with an 41.6 average approval rating may not be the most reliable purveyor of the message Oh, boy, aren’t those people on the Other Side awful? The Democrats don’t really have an alternate plan if the American voting public disagrees.
*Not least because I can’t imagine that there won’t be an injunction on the ruling until the Supreme Court can take a gander at it.
…there’s a problem with the signup totals that the administration was pushing. They’re a tad* off:
The inspector general said the federal insurance exchange reported a total of 2.9 million so-called “inconsistencies” with consumer data from October through December 2013.
Officials had the technical capability to resolve roughly 330,000 of those cases, but only about 10,000 cases were actually closed during the period covered by the report.
So… almost 3 million problem accounts. The government thinks that they can fix about 11% of them; they’ve actually fixed .3% (note the decimal). And note that this is from roughly half of the sign-up period. It’s the first half, which leads one to hope** that there were less problems with the second wave of signups. Anyone planning to place a bet with their bookie on that? (more…)
And oh, my, but Maryland Democrat Lt. Governor Anthony Brown is. This is the first ad from Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan:
If you need a primer on why Lt. Governor Brown is incompetent, one can be found here. Executive summary: the Maryland Obamacare exchange was an utter disaster. And I don’t use the term ‘utter disaster’ lightly: we’re talking about almost $126 million being spent on a state exchange that didn’t work and had to be replaced. And, in case you’re wondering: the replacement is scheduled to cost at least $43 million more dollars of my tax money. Three guesses if that project is going to come in under budget, and the first two don’t count. (more…)
Oh, this should go over well:
…the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposal in March that would prohibit insurers from selling fixed-benefit insurance plans as stand-alone policies.
Fixed-benefit plans are so bare bones they don’t even qualify as actual health insurance under the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate – so people who are covered by these plans only are still subject to the penalty unless they qualify for an exemption.
So why would people buy them? …Probably because the Obamacare tax - that’s what it is: a tax – is low enough that it’s still cheaper to pay the tax and get the fixed-benefit plan. Numbers are a little sparse on this stuff, but a fixed-benefit plan seems to range from $70 to $100 or so a month; given that the Obamacare tax is effectively capped at 2.5% (eventually) of income over $10,000, there’s still a market for these kinds of plans. (more…)
Such an innocent-looking Tweet.
Board approves 2015 budget and carrier assessment with a 7 to 1 vote
— C4HCO (@C4HCO) June 9, 2014
Reading it – or the Twitter feed in general, which is for Colorado’s state Obamacare exchange – you’d never know that it represents a $13 million rate (read: ‘tax’) hike on Colorado voters. But that is indeed what it is. It’s also a budget that is more or less out of control, but more on that later.
Because the Democrats are on-track to nominate the guy most responsible for utterly wrecking their state Obamacare exchange.
Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown has strengthened his lead in the fiercely contested Democratic primary for governor and enters the campaign’s final two weeks with a 2-1 advantage over his closest competitor, according to a new poll for The Baltimore Sun.
In the Republican race, businessman and activist Larry Hogan is running well ahead of his three opponents, the poll found.
AS John Ekdahl notes, we were told that the opposite was going to happen. And yet, here we are: “Nationally, nearly half of ER doctors responding to a recent poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians said they’ve seen more visits since Jan. 1, and nearly nine in 10 expect those visits to rise in the next three years. Mike Rust, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association, said members statewide describe the same trend.” Essentially, what is happening is that people on Medicaid are discovering that having access to a form of medical insurance does not mean the same as access to medical care. Many doctors do not take Medicaid, and there’s not enough doctors anyway: but the emergency room is always there; as a result, not only are more people using ERs, they’re also using them for a wider range of services than, strictly speaking, emergency ones.