Well, this sounds awkward. As you probably already know, people who don’t get Obamacare-approved insurance have to pay a tax. In fact, the tax is supposed to be what gets people to buy Obamacare-approved insurance. And how is it working out? Well…
Major tax-preparation firms say many customers are paying the penalty and not getting health insurance. It is still early, since the special enrollment period launched Sunday, but research also suggests that many people who lack health insurance will pay the penalty and not get covered this year.
Only 12% of uninsured people would buy policies if informed of the penalty, according to a survey of 3,000 adults polled through Feb. 24 by McKinsey & Co.’s Center for U.S. Health System Reform.
I’ve been waiting for Megan McArdle to cook off over the news that the administration just casually made it impossible to assess the effects of Obamacare on insurance rates; and hoo, boy, but she’s unhappy.
I’m speechless. Shocked. Stunned. Horrified. Befuddled. Aghast, appalled, thunderstruck, perplexed, baffled, bewildered and dumbfounded. It’s not that I am opposed to the changes: Everyone understands that the census reports probably overstate the true number of the uninsured, because the number they report is supposed to be “people who lacked insurance for the entire previous year,” but people tend to answer with their insurance status right now.
But why, dear God, oh, why, would you change it in the one year in the entire history of the republic that it is most important for policy makers, researchers and voters to be able to compare the number of uninsured to those in prior years? The answers would seem to range from “total incompetence on the part of every level of this administration” to something worse.
Oy. Avik Roy finishes up savaging the administration for creating a law that ostensibly was about making sure that the uninsured were insured (spoiler warning: it didn’t) with this:
…According to the Associated Press, at least 4.7 million Americans who shop for coverage on their own have had their plans canceled because they don’t conform to Obamacare’s regulations. So Obamacare has disrupted the coverage of millions of Americans, requiring many to purchase costlier policies with higher deductibles and narrower doctor networks, for a fairly modest expansion of coverage.
…Somewhere between 65 percent to 90 percent of the 2.2 million folks who bought insurance on the exchanges through late December seem to be people who already had insurance. Some came to the exchanges when their policies got canceled; others came, voluntarily or not, from the employer market. But various sources suggest that the number of previously uninsured people who have so far bought policies on the exchanges is somewhere south of 750,000.
So, here’s Bob Laszewski’s description of the latest way that the Obama administration rewrote the law and tax code:
If you had a health insurance policy that was cancelled, you are now exempt from the individual mandate and its tax penalty should you not decide to buy a replacement policy. In addition, you can now sign up for the very high deductible Catastrophic Plan that was originally reserved only for those under the age of 30.
If you did not have a health insurance policy that was cancelled, you are still subject to the individual mandate and you are not entitled any special treatment toward signing up for the Catastrophic Plan. You must pay the full price for an exchange plan and accept whatever out-of-pocket costs and network limits it might have for the money.
…of Speaker Pelosi admitting that she’s fine with sending people who don’t want to be insured to jail (H/T: Infidels are Cool); but I’m not all that happy with the results. Which is interesting, because I’m also not happy with the notion of throwing poor people into jail just because Speaker Pelosi wanted to raid taxpayer wallets and pocketbooks for the benefit of the Democratic Party’s various special interest groups.
See also Hot Air, AoSHQ – and probably everybody else soon enough.