HealthcareThe NY Times reports that Republicans in Washington will not sit idly by as President Obama picks and chooses which elements of Obamacare he plans to enforce. Republicans plan to have a series of votes to first codify the postponement of the employer mandate and then to delay the individual mandate. Doing so is smart politics.  Make the Democrats have to defend these unpopular policies before the 2014 elections.

The Obama administration’s picking and choosing of which portions of Obamacare to implement is raising some eyebrows even with Democrats. The NY Times quotes Senator Tom Harkin referring to the delay of the employer mandate,

“This was the law.  How can they change the law?”

And he’s right. What’s more, without the employer mandate, the individual mandate becomes very hard to properly enforce. Obamacare makes insurance subsidies available to individuals who are not offered affordable coverage through their employers. If employers do not have to report their coverage options to the IRS, how can the feds police the handing out of subsidies to individuals??? Turns out the Obama administration has an answer to this conundrum; they won’t police the distribution of subsidies. The NY Times tells us the Obama administration has announced it will not require the Obamacare exchanges to verify whether individuals requesting subsidies qualify for them. It’s scouts honor when it comes to getting Obamacarebucks which are expected to average more than $5,000 per year per person who qualifies.  That’s a whole lot of dough to be handed out.

Those prone to cynicism may question the motives of the Administration when it comes to suspending Obamacare’s provisions so readily because the recent announcements work to the advantage of the insurance exchanges which are going to need plenty of customers to make manageable. Without the employer mandate, more people will have to rely on coverage through the exchanges and without the policing of subsidies, government largesse can flow freely to exchange applicants many of whom would otherwise be priced out of the government run insurance marketplaces.

In fact, as Forbes explains, without the employer mandate, a major “firewall” has been removed from Obamacare. Employers can now dump employees into the exchanges without receiving a penalty and for many workers, the exchanges will be a more attractive deal than their current employer sponsored health plan since substantial exchange subsidies are now there for the taking. This is a worrisome scenario. If enough workers move off their employer sponsored plans, many group plans may fall under the participation requirements insurers set for group plan eligibility. Forbes warns,

“The result could well be a substantial collapse of employer sponsored health coverage – something which could not be easily rebuilt the following year if the employer mandate is imposed then”.

What can Ohioans learn from this mess? They can learn how wily the Obama administration is when it comes to getting more people hooked on a government program. You can be sure that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will follow along the same lines.  Get people signed up and receiving a government entitlement and don’t worry about how it’s all going to work. Turns out, Obamacare is not about offering quality health care. Obamacare is about big government. Are you surprised?

 

NY Times “Seeing Opening, House GOP Pushes Delay on Individual Mandate in Health Law” 

Forbes “The Employer Mandate Delay May Have Drastic Consequences”