FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
ObamaCare’s “family glitch”
The most disastrous legislation in modern history continues to unravel before our eyes, as Reuters reports on yet another loose thread plucked from the hem of ObamaCare: the IRS has issued rulings that mean the tax credits necessary to make President Obama’s ridiculous plan “affordable” to low-income families won’t be available to many of them.
Tax credits are a key component of the law and the White House has said the credits, averaging about $4,000 apiece, will help about 18 million individuals and families pay for health insurance once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, beginning in January 2014.
The tax credits are geared toward low and middle-income Americans who do not have access to affordable health insurance coverage through an employer. The law specifies that employer-sponsored insurance is affordable so long as a worker’s share of the premium does not exceed 9.5 percent of the worker’s household income.
In its rule making, or final interpretation of the law, the IRS said affordability should be based strictly on individual coverage costs, however.
That means that, even if family coverage through an employer-based plan far exceeds the 9.5 percent cutoff, workers would not be eligible for the tax credits to help buy insurance for children or non-working dependents.
“It’s an issue. It needs to be fixed,” Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an influential healthcare advocacy group said on Tuesday, referring to what he called “the family glitch problem.”
Incidentally, the title of the Reuters piece is “Little hope seen for millions priced out of health overhaul.” If only we could send that headline back to 2008!
For Big Government programs, abject failure and the exposure of fraudulent promises never means saying you’re sorry, much less repealing an obviously unworkable law. No, those failures and lies create opportunities for even more tortured legislation and madcap spending. They’ll be “fixing” ObamaCare forever… and that makes its political midwives very, very happy.
In this case, fixing the “family glitch” will presumably involve writing some new standards that compute a different threshold for “affordability” as it pertains to family coverage. That’s a vastly more complex and subjective task than deciding what qualifies as “affordable” insurance for an individual, especially since we’re in the process of re-defining marriage. Just wait until the polygamists join the party in a couple of years! The commissars of ObamaCare will be positively giddy thinking about all the new regulations they’ll be able to write. They’re already going to have a field day tinkering with whatever limit they initially set for “affordable” family coverage. And every time they lower that limit, billions more in tax credits – i.e. government subsidies financed by taxpayers – will be dispensed across a key sector of dependent voters.
Remember back when these charlatans were trying to convince us ObamaCare would reduce the deficit? The same crew of brilliant geniuses, who presume to run the health insurance industry better than any free citizens of private corporations, somehow forgot to consider the possibility that low-income insurance consumers might have families. But of course, if they had explicitly included such provisions, the con artists of the Democrat Party wouldn’t have been able to pretend that ObamaCare was some kind of deficit-reducing bargain for the American taxpayer… or, alternatively, they wouldn’t have been able to soft-pedal its crushing impact on the business sector.
So what prompted these heartless IRS misers to pluck such a sinister family-impoverishing ruling out of thin air? In reality, the IRS says it employed a large number of well-trained people to reach this decision, and they mulled it over for a very long time. The New York Times reported on the process back in August 2012:
The agency said its reading of the law was supported by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. The health care rules were drafted by “our legal experts — career civil servants who are some of the best tax lawyers in the world,” said Douglas H. Shulman, the I.R.S. commissioner.
The law says an employer with 50 or more full-time employees may be subject to a tax penalty if it fails to offer coverage to “its full-time employees (and their dependents).” However, more than two years after President Obama signed the law, the employer’s obligation to dependents is unclear.
In explaining how the penalty is to be computed, the law does not mention dependents. Employers pay a penalty only if one or more full-time employees receive subsidies.
Companies are less likely to offer or pay for coverage of dependents in industries with low wages and high turnover, like restaurants.
You know what else companies are likely to do? Cut back on full-time employees until they can dodge these “affordability” standards, if the whole mess doesn’t get dumped on taxpayers through the non-functional “public exchanges,” which are already far beyond cost projections and suffering from critical infrastructure problems.
The Democrats are reduced to sending the likes of Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz out to defend the indefensible, by mumbling something about the Tea Party:
“I think one only has to look at the budget the Republicans crammed through the House last week, with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act attached to it, to know that the odds of adding coverage and improving coverage in Obamacare in this Tea Party-infused House of Representatives is very unlikely,” she said.
“The way to improve this law and to address concerns that have come up with it is not to repeal it, not to throw it out, but to simply make modifications to it. It would be wonderful if we had Republican colleagues in our chamber, on the other side of the aisle, who were willing to sit down and do that.”
Sounds great, Congresswoman! Did you see ObamaCare when they printed it out and wheeled it through Congress on a hand truck the other day? It’s a stack of 20,000 pages, over seven and a half feet high. How much taller does it have to get from your twisted “fixes” before you’re satisfied? Ten feet? Twelve? Will you throw in the towel and admit it can never live up to its promises when it hits 30,000 pages? Did anyone in your party tell the American people you were about to drop 20,000 pages of regulations on them, back in 2009? Was a single ever-loving one of you honest with them about what ObamaCare did, or how much it would cost?
ObamaCare is a failure and a fraud. It doesn’t work, it can’t deliver on its promises, it costs an order of magnitude more than we were told it would, and it’s reducing access to affordable health care. And all of that is true before it even gets started on reducing access to medicine, by driving doctors out of certain markets, or making them even more unwilling to participate in programs like Medicaid. If this thing was on trial, any halfway-decent lawyer could win a conviction and put it behind bars. Repeal is the only logical course of action… and the only one consistent with American standards of capitalism and individual liberty. Let’s spare Americans of every income level a lifetime of headlines about rising costs and diminishing hopes.