Skip to main content

According to this Wall Street Journal report the Obama White House is walking back the Individual Mandate by two years, for the millions of people who had their health insurance policies canceled as a result of changes required by the ACA.

ObamaCare's Secret Mandate Exemption

HHS quietly repeals the individual purchase rule for two more years.

...last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn't think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don't comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

In 2013, HHS decided that ObamaCare's wave of policy terminations qualified as a "hardship" that entitled people to a special type of coverage designed for people under age 30 or a mandate exemption. HHS originally defined and reserved hardship exemptions for the truly down and out such as battered women, the evicted and bankrupts.

Obama has let other deadlines written into the A.C.A. slide (like the one covering employers by one year) causing a great deal of consternation among the Republicans, and some complaints being murmured on the left (without much notice).

Last month in another change the White House said people would be able to go back to their canceled health insurance policies. That idea was largely dismissed by the insurance companies as being unworkable.

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is going more slowly than congress envisioned when it was passed.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Single Payer would have been so much simpler (8+ / 0-)

    and quicker IMHO.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:06:32 PM PDT

    •  It would have, but you know what? I don't care. (4+ / 0-)

      No way we were getting single-payer. You know that. You know the huge battle it was to get what we did, and it's not perfect.

      But we got a whole lot. Limited insurers profits. Got rid of pre-existing conditions. Let kids stay on parents' policies (which was the only reason my kids had insurance at times in the past two years) and we ended up with Republicans arguing that health care for people was not just bad, but evil.

      So if some really stupid Republicans want to go without health care for their own stupid reasons, I say let them.

      If they're like the latest woman in Republican commercial who simply refuses to believe she'll get a better deal under Obamacare and won't even go to the web site to see or sign up, fuck her.

      She can run up tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and go bankrupt if she wants. I hope she doesn't expect the government she hate to bail her out when it happens, but I can just imagine the whining she'll do.

      Confession time: When I'm not ranting about politics, I write romance novels

      by teresahill on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:24:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And cheaper and better for all... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Lefty Coaster, tardis10

      ...except the insurance CEOs.  A no brainer.

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:47:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except for the required raise in taxes (0+ / 0-)

        and the premiums to be paid to the government as they are in Medicare.

        Some 25% of Medicare holders opt for the private insurers versions with their limited panels.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 06:15:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  and we'd still be waiting for it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to become law.

      p.s. Small nit. That should be "whose" in your title, not "who's."

  •  Yes. This is better than what we had, but a total (5+ / 0-)

    mess. Comprehensive Medicare for everyone would have been much better. Ask a Canadian.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:33:07 PM PDT

    •  Yep. My insurance was cancelled. I have 18 days (0+ / 0-)

      to get a new plan, or just 1 day if I go through Covered Oregon, which yesterday (3/12/14) gave me until 3/15/15 to get enrolled in a plan.

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 12:37:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not surprised that Romneycare (4+ / 0-)

    has turned out to be problematic at the national level.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:36:06 PM PDT

  •  Who cares? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, elmo, hbk

    The overwhelming majority of those folks moved into ACA-compliant plans.

    Thanks for informing me of the Republican consternation, though. Lol.

    •  I never supported it. I didn't support it (5+ / 0-)

      when the Heritage Foundation came out with the initial blueprint, and I didn't support it when Mitt Romney instituted it in Massachusetts and I don't like it now, and I'm going to tell you why.

      I object to the fact that the individual mandate causes people--even with a possible subsidy--to engage in coerced commerce with private insurance companies. They are the people with the "real" death panels. So they have to take me if I have a pre-existing condition. That is a good thing. But in general the entire system stinks. I grew up in a family where insurance was what the dads did in business, and I know what the agenda is. It's to find any way to deny your claim. Most of the insurance under the ACA is junk. Better junk, but still junk. I don't even qualify for it, I'm in the donut hole. My county is giving me better, for just my tax dollars.

      Yes, it helps some people, but it doesn't solve the problem. Supporting it just because we've put the President's name where Romney's used to be (and I lived in Massachusetts when that happened) doesn't make it a good idea. It's a huge mess, when we could have upped FICA caps and given Medicare to everyone and let them buy supplemental insurance if they wanted it like they do in other civilized countries.

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:48:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would think that is likely. (0+ / 0-)

      They had insurance of sorts indicating they want to be covered, so those who are serious about getting the best coverage they can could be expected to sign up for an ACA plan.  For those who had issues with the exchange or other problems making the transition, this removes possible Catch 22 situations.

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 07:37:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  is this just cancelled policies? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    the WSJ piece implies that the exemption you can apply for is so vague and open that anyone could get one.

  •  Maybe they will get around to looking at (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    Employer provided insurance where's he companies self insure.

    People ought to be able to opt out of that and into an exchange plan.

    My intuition is that nominally ACA compliant plans of that sort are worse than what the exchanges offer (and with less choice, since they don't have to offer a top end platinum plan or a low end catastrophic plan, in fact just a single plan if they choose).

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:21:45 AM PDT

  •  Look, Obamacare was an insurance company bailout (0+ / 0-)

    What was needed was single-payer.  Basically I hate the manipulation (my health insurance was cancelled, for example) and the intrusive nature of the application process.  The mandate alone is sufficiently despicable.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 12:35:33 PM PDT

    •  How many years are you going to (0+ / 0-)

      mourn single payer — which never could have passed?

      The ACA is hardly an insurer bailout: it regulates them up and down the system.

      They were doing fine before; they could dump most people if they got an expensive ailment. They could jack up the prices to small businesses if any of their people got an expensive ailment.

      People were let go from their jobs because their illnesses would raise the premiums for all the others.

      Get one thing through your head: you can't MANDATE the insurers cover everyone unless you MANDATE everyone in the pool.

      Great Britain and Canada have mandates.

      They are called taxes.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 02:45:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site