No mandate to change 
Obamacare rules again

Remember the individual mandate, the cornerstone of Obamacare, which the White House fought for all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and won.

Turns out it wasn’t so important, after all. On Thursday, the Obama administration announced hardship exemptions for potentially millions of Americans whose individual insurance policies have been canceled. They will now be allowed to buy less-expensive catastrophic insurance policies or opt out of Obamacare for at least a year without facing the fines required by the individual mandate.

There are multiple problems with this change, including the fact it came just three days before the supposed deadline for purchasing new insurance policies under Obamacare, and it throws insurance pools into turmoil.

The number of enrollees is already far below what was projected for the end of this year, primarily because of problems with the federal government website,, and similar problems with state exchanges. The latest change is likely to make even fewer people eager to sign up, insurance executives say, and thereby make the pool of those buying insurance even more unstable, tilted heavily toward those with the most severe health problems.

Officials with the Health and Human Services Department claim the change will only affect about 500,000 people. But California officials say at least 1 million people have had their policies canceled in that state alone, and Republicans argue the nationwide figure is more than 5 million.

Then there is the question of fairness. As noted by Ezra Klein, a Washington Post writer and Obamacare supporter who has become increasingly critical of the program, Thursday’s action opens the door for politicians to demand that everyone be given an exemption from the individual mandate, not just those whose policies were cancelled.

“Why are people whose plans were canceled more deserving of help than people who couldn’t afford a plan in the first place?” Klein wondered.

Additionally, there is the question of whether Obama and his team even have the authority to make such changes. According to the National Review Online, this marks the 14th change in the Affordable Care Act made by executive fiat by the administration. But this may be the most substantial. After all, the individual mandate was upheld by the Supreme Court, and the language of the law says the vast majority of Americans “must” obtain insurance or pay a penalty. It doesn’t say the president may decide who is not covered by the mandate.

All presidents exercise some discretion in how they enforce laws passed by Congress, but this president has been more aggressive than previous ones in picking and choosing.

The change may be significant for the future of Obamacare.

“This puts the first crack in the individual mandate,” Klein wrote. “The question is whether it’s the last.” If Congress uses the ruling as an excuse to exempt others from the mandate, “then it’ll be a very big problem for the law.”

Increasingly, it appears, this is a law with very big problems.


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Page 1 of 1

While today’s Sentinel editorial – “No mandate to change Obamacare rules again” – aptly raises valid and timely questions (as did The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein) about the future of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), it inadequately explained the authority for the latest change – and its coyly crafted headline implies that there was none.

Rather, the ACA provides fourteen categories of “hardship exemptions” (which must be applied for).  The purpose of these exemptions is to permit individuals who lose health insurance coverage outside an enrollment period to promptly obtain alternative, non-ACA-compliant coverage without violating the “individual mandate”.

Thus, the ACA has always protected previously covered individuals 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.”

President Obama responsibly defined “hardship exemptions” to include the “human-caused event” of the website “roll-out” debacle.  Now, in response to a suggestion from five Democratic Senators and Independent Senator Angus King, it is being extended to some individuals who received belated and/or “unexpected” coverage cancellations.

The “human-caused event” underlying this latest expansion of the “hardship exemption” originated when health insurers induced millions to cancel policies “grandfathered” in 2010, and then continued to market (as did Rocky Mountain Health Plans) non-compliant lower-cost policies through 2013—without adequately informing their customers that those policies would have to be cancelled as of January 1, 2014.

How many of the estimated “500,000” to “5 million” potentially affected individuals were unable to obtain affordable ACA-compliant coverage by the deadline and will now actually apply for a “hardship exemption” (which protects them from the “individual mandate” until the start of the next enrollment period on October 1, 2014) remains to be seen.

Merry Christmas ole penis envy Hugenburg. Will you ever learn that the majority of Americans, although not as highly educated as you and obama, do not want obamacare. Period. Changing this, that, this, that is probably not legal. At least by the chairman’s executive orders.

The true difference between Chicken Salad and Chicken ####
If this does not speak to the character
of the individual, then nothing does.

Chicken Salad
President George W. Bush’s
speech after the capture of
Saddam Hussein:
“The success of yesterday’s mission is a tribute to our men
and women now serving in Iraq . The operation was based
on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the
dictator’s footprints in a vast country. The operation was
carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force.
Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced
many dangers in the hunt for members of the fallen regime, and
in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people. Their
work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation,
I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate them!”

And Chicken ####!
Barrack Hussein Obama’s
speech after the killing of
Osama bin Laden:
“And so shortly after taking office,  **I**  directed Leon Panetta, the
Director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as **we** continued
**our** broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, **I** was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden.
It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground.  **I** met repeatedly with my national security team as **we** developed more information about the possibility that **we** had
located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, **I** determined that **we** had enough intelligence to take action, and **I** authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Today, at **my** direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.”

Obama did not once acknowledge our brave
men and women who fight for our country….
and that, my friends, is chicken S—t.!!

Merry Christmas Seal Team 6 and to ALL of our brave men and women.

Page 1 of 1

Search More Jobs

734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Subscribe to print edition
eTear Sheets/ePayments

© 2017 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy