The Obamacare individual mandate death watch

LOS ANGELES, December 25, 2013 – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Health and Human Services and the Obama administration!

Last Thursday, HHS Secy Kathleen Sebelius decreed that if you were one of the 4-5 million Americans who lost their individual insurance policy due to Obamacare’s tighter restrictions, and have not found a suitable replacement for your insurance, then the December 23 deadline no longer applies.


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Then HHS shifted the deadline an additional day, the end of Christmas Eve, for everyone else. As Tiny Tim said, “God Bless us all, everyone!”

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reported, “The designation of a canceled plan as a qualifying hardship means those who have not yet found a suitable replacement have a new option:  enroll in a cheap, bare bones catastrophic plan that is typically restricted to people under 30 years-old or others with an exemption.”

More White House damage control efforts because of the flood of cancelled insurance policies that started well before the Oct. 1 Healthcare.gov launch. But will this one work any better than the other fixes, concessions, and supposed delays? Doubtful.

Like most politically-motivated ploys, it fails to factor in the American people and actual reality.


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This sudden massaging of the individual mandate came about because a bunch of vulnerable Democrat Senators led by Mark Warner of Virginia, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana wrote the Obama administration asking for clarification on whether those who had their plans canceled could qualify for the exemption.

This “Gang of Six” is running scared, as some of them are up for re-election in the 2014, and all of them voted for Obamacare. Not a winning combination and a possible assurance that their constituents will not cast their vote for them this time around.

Sebelius responded to Sen. Warner, “The President and I want to do everything we can to ensure that individuals with canceled plans have as many options as possible.” But according to President Obama’s speech on December 3, “The bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future.” If this is what a working, successful law looks like, I’d hate to see what they consider failure.

Insurance providers are beyond concerned, as additional exemption will put the new insurance market in even more flux. If you cannot set policy, you cannot set prices, and premiums are more than likely to continue to skyrocket.


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Americans are not sure whether to be relieved, confused, or just plain angry about yet another hasty decision that alters the healthcare law and still doesn’t provide the insurance stability they had under the old system.

Leftist writer Dylan Scott at Talking Points Memo forecast that this latest change will simply play into the hands of Obamacare opponents:

“The White House had been under fire for months over the widespread reports of canceled policies, but rather than assuage those concerns with the new exemption, it runs the risk of opening one of the law’s most important (and most unpopular) features to more political meddling.”

On this matter, there is no wrong side. In terms of the insurance industry, you cannot change direction on a battleship with just a turn of the wheel without roiling the waters and possibly wrecking the entire ship. Americans are simply tuning out, or turning on this administration for its blatant and veiled lies about the law and its implementation. These constant changes make it difficult for Americans to plan or make decisions when the playing field keeps shifting.

As for the Obama administration, it has done enough meddling to this law on their own time, and are proving the case for conservative opposition the more they do so.

This ploy has little to do with caring about the Americans who are left in a lurch thanks to the lies and poor execution of Obamacare. What it does accomplish is three-fold: 1) It buys more time for the parts of Healthcare.gov that are still not functioning. Namely, the payment structure that still has not been built.

So even if people found a suitable policy through Healthcare.gov, they still have to contract with an offline insurance broker to purchase it!; 2) It gives Democrat senators cover with their constituents (or so they hope). These senators are desperate for anything that will make them look like shining knights, rather than the architects of destruction to the American healthcare system.

s the New York Post so aptly put it, ”[T]his isn’t about fixing ObamaCare. It’s about relieving the political pain for Democrats.”; and, 3) It gives the administration more time to continue its mojo marketing to the Young Invincibles. As of this writing, the young and healthy are still not signing up in droves for this boondoggle despite new pushes by Adam Levine, Lady Gaga, and a “Buy It ‘Cause It’s Hot” video featuring Barack O’Breezy.

Jonathan Karl of ABC News all but mocked the administration and Jay Carney about the Covered California video promotion. He retorted, “I mean is anybody going to buy health care because Barack O’Breezy tells him to buy it because it’s hot?”

The Carney did his usual stumble-bumble over words in his answer, trying once again to convince us that this is all to make sure everybody gets covered. Right.

Any way you slice it, this is more smoke and mirrors from an administration that knows a lot about the hard sell, but little about delivery. Secy Sebelius and President Obama are simply postponing the inevitable: the death of the individual mandate and a slow and painful erosion of the entire Obamacare law.

Once Americans regain even a modicum of choice on what they can purchase, they will be hard pressed to allow government, or anyone else for that matter, to get their hand in the cookie jar a second time. 


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Jennifer Oliver O'Connell

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell is the "In My Orbit" columnist for Washington Times Communities, writes on Los Angeles Faith and Community for Examiner.com, teaches Yoga, and coaches on careers and reinvention.

You can keep up with what's in Jennifer's orbit through her As the Girl Turns website: (http://asthegirlturns.com).

Contact Jennifer Oliver O'Connell

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