When it comes to regulating the American economy and the American people into oblivion, only the federal government can be this thorough. Consider what The Hill reported last week:
The Obama administration took new steps Wednesday toward implementing the individual mandate in its signature healthcare law, downplaying the scope of the unpopular provision by stressing rules that allow exemptions from the requirement to purchase insurance.
The exceptions to the mandate are, of course, numerous:
The Affordable Care Act includes exceptions for people with religious objections to traditional healthcare services, as well as a slew of income-related carve-outs.
“A principle in implementing the individual shared responsibility provision is that the shared responsibility payment should not apply to any taxpayer for whom coverage is unaffordable, who has other good cause for going without coverage, or who goes without coverage for only a short time,” HHS said.
People who do not make enough money to pay federal income taxes aren’t subject to the mandate, and neither are people for whom coverage would be unaffordable, as defined by the healthcare law. For employer-based coverage to meet the law’s definition of affordability, it can’t cost more than 9 percent of an employee’s salary.
Undocumented immigrants aren’t subject to the mandate, since they’re ineligible for government assistance to help buy healthcare coverage.
HHS also clarified in the new rules that short gaps in coverage won’t trigger the coverage requirement — meaning people who are temporarily unemployed won’t have to pay a fine for losing their health coverage between jobs.
Anyone who had insurance for one day of a month will count as having coverage for the whole month, HHS said.
The individual mandate is one of the worst parts of the Affordable Care Act – despite its support among many policy wonks across the political spectrum – and completely changes the “free will” contract tradition in America. However, according to the article, some people will be exempt from the mandate’s requirements, including certain low-income Americans and those who have religious objections to the mandate.
Despite the above exemptions for the individual mandate (something the Supreme Court never should have ruled as constitutional), the Administration is still closing the door to religious freedom with the HHS Mandate for contraception/abortifacients/sterilizations. It has expanded upon the exemptions (as it did with the individual mandate) it originally possessed, but still doesn’t allow for religious business owners to hold to the tenets of their religions.
In its defense of the above two policies, the Obama Administration has claimed lower costs to many Americans will be the result. This has always been a controversial claim, and it became all but indefensible last week when the IRS projected the lowest-cost insurance policy under Obamacare will cost low-income American families $20,000 per year. $20,000 per year. That’s more than the average cost of tuition, room, and board per college year, and almost 40% of the median income in America from 2007 to 2011.
Obamacare should be wiped from the history books for any number of reasons, but these three regulations highlight everything that is wrong with Washington-centric health care policy. As Tea Party Patriots pointed out in The Determinators, he who has the power makes the decisions, and right now President Obama and his subordinates are doing both.