Now this is unfortunate. Last February, the administration released a new rule under Obamacare that delays a key part of the "Affordable" in the Affordable Care Act: caps on patients' out-of-pocket costs. The rule was "obscured in a maze of legal and bureaucratic language that went largely unnoticed" until
The New York Times
health reporter Robert Pear dug it up
Under the policy, many group health plans will be able to maintain separate out-of-pocket limits for benefits in 2014. As a result, a consumer may be required to pay $6,350 for doctors’ services and hospital care, and an additional $6,350 for prescription drugs under a plan administered by a pharmacy benefit manager.
The delay doesn't apply to all insurers or employers and will not harm many consumers. But it can harm some of the most vulnerable, as Kaiser Health News reports
. People with devastating and chronic illnesses—cancer, AIDS, lupus, epilepsy—who have the highest drug and doctor bills will be disproportionately hurt. It's a relatively small patient population, but it's the patient population that arguably needs the cap the most.
The administration and its defenders argue that it was necessary because some employers and plans don't have the capacity to determine those costs easily and need another year to put those systems in place. You could argue that the the businesses have had plenty of damned time to put those systems in place since the law passed.
The most frustrating part of the law is that it will have the most expensive impact on the people who are the sickest. The second most frustrating thing about it is that it's giving more fodder to Republicans, like House Speaker John Boehner, who said: “Once again the president is giving a break to big businesses struggling with his health care law while individuals and families unfairly remain stuck under its mandates." No, Boehner doesn't give a shit about the individuals and families, and yes, he's on the side of big business. Boehner's hypocrisy aside, giving the GOP more ammunition in their argument that Obamacare is a train wreck is just politically stupid.
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