Another “push out” in Obamacare. Kyle Wingfield writes about it here. We spoke to Sen. Johnny Isakson last week and he said he thought, if implemented, Obamacare would implode under it’s own weight in three years. But what state will our young, under-employed population be in by then?
Another day, another report that a key element of Obamacare is being delayed — past next year’s mid-term elections, coincidentally I’m sure — as the good intentions of Washington’s smart set run smack-dab against reality. From the New York Times:
“In another setback for President Obama’s health care initiative, the administration has delayed until 2015 a significant consumer protection in the law that limits how much people may have to spend on their own health care.
“The limit on out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and co-payments, was not supposed to exceed $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family. But under a little-noticed ruling, federal officials have granted a one-year grace period to some insurers, allowing them to set higher limits, or no limit at all on some costs, in 2014.“The grace period has been outlined on the Labor Department’s Web site since February, but was obscured in a maze of legal and bureaucratic language that went largely unnoticed. When asked in recent days about the language — which appeared as an answer to one of 137 “frequently asked questions about Affordable Care Act implementation“ — department officials confirmed the policy.” (links here and elsewhere original)
If you believe the excuse made by an anonymous “senior administration official” later in the story, citing technical difficulties on the insurers’ end, you’ll believe anything.
As with a previous delay, waiting to enforce the employer mandate to provide coverage, one has to ask how the administration legally justifies picking and choosing which parts of the law it complies with. Certainly, it undermines the snarky comment health secretary Kathleen Sebelius made Monday in Atlanta, speaking to a convention of state legislators, that “This is no longer a political debate. This is what we call the law.”
Well, that’s what they call the parts of the law that a) they haven’t yet understood to be unworkable in the real world, or b) they don’t think will hurt them politically in 2014. In light of this administration’s attitude toward, say, the Defense of Marriage Act, it appears only some laws get “what we call the law” respect from this White House. In fact, the operative words from Sebelius’ statement seem to be “what we call.”
But back to this latest delay. If the laws of economics — another set of laws this White House does not “call the law” — were not set to be repealed by 2014, there is little to no reason to believe the change will happen by 2015, either. As Avik Roy explains:
“There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you ban lifetime limits, and mandate lower deductibles, and cap out-of-pocket costs, premiums have to go up to reflect these changes. And unlike a lot of the ‘rate shock’ problems we’ve been discussing, these limits apply not only to individually-purchased health insurance, but also to employer-sponsored coverage. (Self-insured employers are exempted.)
“These mandates have already had drastic effects on a number of colleges and universities, which offer inexpensive, defined-cap plans to their healthy, youthful students. Premiums at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., for example, rose from $245 per student in 2011-2012 to between $2,507 in 2012-2013. The University of Puget Sound paid $165 per student in 2011-2012; their rates rose to between $1,500 and $2,000 for 2012-2013. Other schools have been forced to drop coverage because they could no longer afford it.”
This is what happens when you take an already non-free-market health care system and make it even less market-based. It proves “the market has failed” in health care in roughly the same way one might “prove” a boy has “failed” at playing baseball by giving him a glove — but no ball, bat or instructions on how to play the game.
And from the “left-side of the fence,” here’s what CBS News had to say. And 4 ways to get the shaft, I mean understand the delay from WAPO.