As part of their giant tax bill, Republicans in Congress are about to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Their objective is not sensible health care reform but rather insensible arithmetic that could satisfy the byzantine rules governing the Senate’s reconciliation process.
The purpose of the mandate is to evenly distribute risk among healthy and unhealthy Americans on the individual insurance market so that costs are shared and no one is left out.
Will killing the mandate ruin Obamacare exchanges? No, but it will transform them into an extended form of Medicaid by another name. Americans with subsidized policies will stay in the system, with help from the federal government.
Unsubsidized individuals, however, will be driven out of the market, because a repeal of the mandate will cause premiums on exchange plans to skyrocket as healthy people exit.
Another Obamacare delay has taken effect, without much fanfare. The administration has quietly announced that it was delaying through October 2016 the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate for millions of Americans who have lost their healthcare coverage.
The latest change was buried in an announcement that Americans would be able to keep health plans that do not meet Obamacare standards for another two years, Fox News reports. Political consultant Dick Morris says the effect of this announcement with all the other Obamacare delays means that the act has now effectively been repealed.
Because of website glitches, individuals buying health insurance through government-run websites now have an extra six weeks – until the end of March 2014 – to enroll in a plan without a penalty.
The open enrollment period for “Obamacare” extends from Oct. 1 to March 31, 2014. If an individual is not covered for three months or longer, he or she will face a financial penalty for not having insurance. In order for the insurance to take effect, uninsured Americans would have to sign up by Feb. 15, 2014 to avoid the fines.