A conservative alternative to Obamacare has been unveiled. Read about it after the jump. Then consider these questions: (1) Does it sound better than Obamacare? (2) What is particularly conservative about it? (3) Is it qualitatively different from other efforts to have the government presiding over the health care of its citizens? [Read more…]
President Obama postponed yet again the Employer Mandate part of Obamacare, which will require employers of 50 or more workers to provide them health insurance. The measure was supposed to go into effect in 2014, but he had earlier postponed it until 2015. Now it will not go into effect until 2016. Never mind that these postponements violate the text of the law.
Employers of 100 or more will still have to offer insurance next year, though they received some breaks too, detailed after the jump.
Under Obamacare, those who don’t have health insurance coverage at work sign up for policies at online “exchanges.” If their income level makes the policies too hard to afford, the government will offer subsidies to make up the difference. There is a problem, though. As the law is written, the subsidies are for people who signed up for a plan on an exchange “established by the state.” Thirty-four states refused to set up the exchanges, which send applicants to a federal exchange. Technically, applicants from those 34 states would not seem to be eligible for a subsidy.
But wait, you may say. That is obviously just a technicality. The clear intent of the law offers subsidies to everybody eligible. Except that the legislative history of the bill shows good evidence that the “established by the state” language was put in precisely for the purpose of pressuring states to start their own exchanges.
Now this is being litigated, with several lawsuits against the IRS, which has been tasked with enforcing Obamacare. (That is surely a misuse of that agency, but that’s what we get when the Supreme Court defines penalties and fines as “taxes.”)
But here is the point: Even people who support some program that would provide universal healthcare should surely admit that Obamacare is not a very good way of reaching that goal, that the Affordable Care Act is too complicated, was poorly written, was passed too quickly without normal legislative scrutiny, and has too many unintended consequences. [Read more…]
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare, when fully implemented, will cost the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs. Not so much from businesses cutting back hiring but because people will not want to work so much.
Older people will no longer feel they need to keep working until they can get on Medicare, so they can retire early. Middle class people will work less so as to purposefully earn less–that way, they can qualify for a subsidy. Rich people will also work less to earn less so that, given the increased tax rates to pay for Obamacare, they won’t have to pay so much in taxes.
This is the benefit of making everyone dependent on a government program: The economic disincentives built into the welfare system will now apply to everybody! [Read more…]
So where do we stand with Obamacare, now that HealthCare.gov is more or less working? Michael Gerson reports:
The early returns are in. A large majority of the 2.2 million people who had purchased insurance on the exchanges by year-end — 65 percent to 90 percent, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal — already had insurance. Economic writer Megan McArdle did the math, estimating that just 15 percent (750,000) of the 5 million uninsured that the Congressional Budget Office expected to sign up in the first year have actually done so. Meanwhile, administration claims about increases in coverage for the uninsured under Medicaid are badly, even deceptively, inflated, as Sean Trende has documented. [Read more…]