• Quote: Obamacare’s supporters hope to hoodwink the public

    Obamacare’s opponents were deflated by the Roberts decision upholding the law, and for good reason. The chief justice seemed to go out of his way to allow Obamacare to continue, but his decision was not without consequence for the law. No one is required to purchase government-approved health insurance under Obamacare; as Roberts wrote, Congress did not have the authority to create such an obligation. What the law created was a choice, and it is perfectly legal for citizens to choose not to enroll in an Obamacare insurance plan. Obamacare’s supporters hope this proper understanding of the law never seeps into the public consciousness.

    James Capretta, National Review Online.

    Of course, the law’s supporters are a heterogeneous bunch, with some eager to convey a proper understanding of the law.


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    • The entire right wing has been entirely dishonest about Obamacare. See Ezra’s post today about hypocrisy. Capretta wants to hoodwink us into believing that he’s a good person who just happens to want to deny a market based reform of healthcare that still leaves those with chronic conditions out in the cold.

    • What I never did (and still don’t) understand is what the law requires of insurers, in the same sense that it doesn’t “require” people to enroll in health exchanges. For example, there’s this large push back about people being unable to keep their plans… if insurers simply continued to provide those choices, but outside of exchanges, and explained that they did not qualify under the ACA (so that people would have to pay penalties if those were the only policies they held), would they (insurers) be allowed to do this?

      That is, the individual mandate really isn’t… it’s just a penalty (and only $95 for the first year at that); making it a tax according to the supreme court for purposes of its legality. Correct? So what is the insurer mandate? Is it a true mandate of what they can offer, or is it just a barrier-to-entry for the exchanges… certainly insurers are offering other catastrophic or low deductible plans that greatly exceed or enhance the requirements of the exchanges, are they legally disallowed from offering non-compliant packages OFF the exchanges?

      There’s a lot of misinformation going around… I wouldn’t blame only one side or the other; even people that follow this closely don’t always agree on the meaning of the fine print.

      • “if insurers simply continued to provide those choices, but outside of exchanges,”

        My understanding was that the ACA makes plans that don’t meet certain minimum requirements illegal. Also, in the few years prior to ACA passage, insurance companies cancelled something like 44,000 plans every month. The only reason those plans were profitable as products to the insurer was that they were able to cancel those plans as the insured (through aging or new medical situations) moved into higher-risk groups, and then could be charged more according to that risk.

        So the idea that these plans were plans that people could keep before ACA, which was implicit in this whole discussion of cancelled plans, was essentially wrong. In real life, your nice cheap plan may or may not be available next year, but there was essentially no chance it would still be available to you 5 years hence.

        • “My understanding was that the ACA makes plans that don’t
          meet certain minimum requirements illegal.” All of what you said
          was my understanding too, but I can’t confirm exactly what is and
          is not illegal to SELL, and what the penalty is. For example, on
          Page 15 of the ACA requires that insurance plans state “‘(G) a
          statement of whether the plan or coverage— ‘(i) provides minimum
          essential coverage (as defined under section 5000A(f) of the
          Internal Revenue Code 1986);” Which is, insurers must tell people
          whether the plan they sell qualifies to exempt them from the ACA’s
          penalty. But doesn’t that imply that some plans will be allowed to
          be sold that do NOT qualify? I see penalties for not filing
          paperwork, for not fulfilling electronic record keeping
          obligations, and not properly documenting the plans for
          participants… and I see clear wording about lifetime limits,
          rescission, preventive health coverage, dependant coverage, and the
          80% bit about rebates. Beyond that, the other rules, which are
          vast, seem to only apply to qualified plans, or to plans offered on
          exchanges. This may well be enough to make those plans unprofitable
          for insurers, I agree. But what I’m asking is, where is the
          verbiage that disallows NON-qualified plans? That is, can an
          insurer offer a product that allows a consumer to agree to pay the
          non-compliance fee and still legally purchase a plan that provides
          non-qualified (i.e. less than “Bronze” level) coverage? The
          actuarial percent requirements and medical loss ratios would not
          seem to apply. I’m really not trying to be difficult; my point is
          that in agreement with the original thread, it’s clear consumers
          don’t have to enroll in a qualified plan… but do they have legal
          alternatives OTHER than no insurance? I have not read the entire
          ACA (i.e. PPACA and HCERA that is), but I’ve spent more time in the
          documents than I’d like, and I truly cannot find any such
          requirement, other than the IRS penalty on the insured. Can someone
          provide a direct reference to the section of law?