Sunday, March 2, 2014

ObamaCare: Backing, Filling, and Improvising

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise have prevailed.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882),  On the Origin of the Species and on "Survival of the Fittest"

To help his health law survive,  President Obama has mastered the political art of backing, filling, and improvising.   He knows where the ACA’s  holes are, and he knows how to back up, to fill them, and to improvise to plug them.   

Obama has unilaterally delayed and transformed  the law on 30 more occasions,  and this week he  has again acted outside the law by offering subsidies and tax credits.  
Congressman Joe Pitts (R. Pennsylvania) reacted,

“The administration is blatantly ignoring the law, paying subsidies to plans outside of the exchange. The unilateral delays and changes have been rampant.”

Rampant or not,   ObamaCare’s survival and the survival of his legacy,  are at stake here,  aa well as the survival of 14 Democratic Senators up for election in November 2014.     In ay event, President Obama is delivering on his promise to use his “pen and phone” through executive actions to get his way.

To rub salt in Republican wounds,  the President has made these subsidies and tax credits retroactive.   Apparently in politics, it is never too late to undo the damage you have inflicted through a poorly-thought out and disastrously-executed law.    The law has stumbled, after all, not because of any lack of humanitarian intent  on your  part but because of
“technical issues,” which can be blamed on his software advisors.  and the incompetence of the various Washington bureaucracies. 

As Robert Pear reports in the February 28 New York Times,  

The sudden shift was the latest in a series of policy changes, extensions and clarifications by federal officials to help beneficiaries and minimize political damage in an election year.”  

 One evidence of this winter’s political discontent with ObamaCare  is a poll this week indicating 57% of the uninsured, those supposedly  helped by the law,  disapprove of it.

The latest  change comes as a shock to some because the ACA clearly states that federal subsidies are available only to people enrolled in  a “qualified health plan” in the exchange.
Under the new policy insurers may have to give back refunds and tax credits to customers who spent money and premiums and copayment before the subsidies were available.  

“Logistical details” have to be worked out.  These kinds of details  have never bothered the Obama administration before.   What has to be done has to be done when your survival and your legacy is at stake,  not matter what the “logistical details.”    

Besides,  as the later Milton Berle, the American comedian, observed, ‘When it comes to your health, money is no object,” especially when it comes to the law, and when  you regard yourself as the law and the executioner of the law.

Tweet:   President Obama has again changed the health law by retroactively offering subsidies to health plan customers outside health exchanges.

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