You have to wonder what it will take for anyone in the establishment press to call out a major malfunction associated with Obamacare for what it really is. The threshold is apparently something worse than hundreds of thousands of children, many of whom previously had coverage, going without health insurance.
One of the latest headlined examples of reality avoidance first appeared at USA Today’s web site Monday evening (the current 11:55 p.m. time stamp indicates that there has since been a story revision): “‘Family glitch’ in health law could be painful.” (Could be?) Additionally, as seen here (HT Twitchy), that pathetic headline to Kelly Kennedy’s story also appears in McPaper’s Tuesday print edition (bolds are mine):
‘Family glitch’ in health law could be painful
It could leave up to 500,000 children without coverage and cost some families thousands of dollars.
A “family glitch” in the 2010 health care law threatens to cost some families thousands of dollars in health insurance costs and leave up to 500,000 children without coverage, insurance and health care analysts say.
That’s unless Congress fixes the problem, which seems unlikely given the House’s latest move Friday to strip funding from the Affordable Care Act.
Congress defined “affordable” as 9.5% or less of an employee’s household income, mostly to make sure people did not leave their workplace plans for subsidized coverage through the exchanges. But the “error” was that it only applies to the employee — and not his or her family. So, if an employer offers a woman affordable insurance, but doesn’t provide it for her family, they cannot get subsidized help through the state health exchanges.
That can make a huge difference; the Kaiser Family Foundation said an average plan for an individual is about $5,600, but it goes up to $15,700 for families. Most employers help out with those costs, but not all.
“We saw this two-and-a-half years ago and thought, ‘Has anyone else noticed this?’” said Kosali Simon, a professor of public affairs at Indiana University who specializes in health economics. “Everyone said, ‘No, no. You must be wrong.’ But we weren’t, and that’s going to leave a lot of people out.”
The issue has recently received attention, especially after former president Bill Clinton highlighted it in a recent speech.
… New rules state that those families will not be penalized for not purchasing coverage, but the point of the law was to make coverage affordable for families.
Isn’t that rich? The best HHS can do is say that it won’t penalize people for not having insurance they can’t afford to buy without subsidies, leaving families exposed to massive uninsured medical costs if their child has any kind of serious medical problem. As usual, the “party of compassion” proves itself undeserving of its tagline.
More fundamentally, it appears that no one in the press has thought to ask why a former president is the one who is giving the problem visibility. Perhaps a few have thought to ask, but if so they’ve held back, because they’ve figured out that any answer would be embarrassing. Make that humiliating.
The Obama administration has had 3-1/2 years to get ready for the October 1 beginning of its first enrollment period and almost four years to prepare for going live with healthcare services on January 1, 2014. Despite the fact that the issue described above has been known to exist for over 2-1/2 years, as Kennedy noted, no one in the Obama administration, particulary in Kathleen Sebelius’s Health and Human Service’s Department, has done anything about it — nor has anyone in the press taken any interest in noting the problem.
It is my belief that the White House and HHS made a cynical calculation that if they went to a no longer Democrat-controlled Congress to attempt a legislative remedy, it would have given aid and comfort to those who wish to repeal the law entirely. So instead, they’re forging ahead despite this “glitch” and other known flaws and ramrodding initial implementation through at any cost.
Those children affected by the aforementioned “glitch”? I guess the administration considers them mere “collateral damage” in pursuit of a larger cause.
So at the eleventh hour, they decided that they’d better disclose the problem instead of having consumers find out about it on their own when they tried to enroll in the exchanges.
But if either President Obama or Kathleen Sebelius got in front of the cameras to explain this “glitch,” they would be thoroughly — and deservedly — humiliated. We can’t have that. If HHS issued a press release, it would be correctly seen as cowardly while also providing written proof of the administration’s failure to address a known problem. We know after almost five years that the Obama administration will never admit it is wrong about or mismanaged anything. So Bill Clinton, who probably knew nothing about the “glitch” until just a few days ago, got pressed into duty.
As to Kennedy’s assertion that this “glitch,” aka “monunmental screwup” in the drafting of Affordable Care Act (which, we must recall, virtually all who supported it could not possibly have read, let alone understood), “could” be painful, tell that to the families who will lose sleep every night over their financial exposure.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.