The Employer Mandate and the Exchanges

Yuval Levin writes at National Review Online that it is hard to overstate “how very difficult and embarrassing it must have been for the administration” to make the decision to delay implementation and reporting of the employer mandate. 

Levin, a recent winner of the Bradley Prize, also has some important insights about the decision’s impact on the viability of the ObamaCare exchanges.  Here is a key excerpt which also shows what a House of Cards ObamaCare is: 

“…as a matter of policy substance, the most serious problem for the administration with this delay of the employer mandate [may be] its effect on the viability of the exchanges. Under the law, eligibility for exchange subsidies depends on an individual not receiving an affordable offer of qualified insurance from an employer. If employers will now not be required to report on their insurance offerings in 2014, I don’t see how the government will be able to determine eligibility for subsidies, and therefore how the exchanges will be able to function.

“Making subsidies available without proof of eligibility would be very expensive and destabilizing to the insurance system, and would also require the retraction of such subsidies if the employer mandate ever does return. Coming up with other ways to prove eligibility would be very difficult at this late stage (as exchanges are supposed to start operating in three months), and would also be totally lawless—though I recognize that is a rather quaint and old fashioned concern in the age of Obama. Any losers in that process could sue, and the federal courts would have a hard time sustaining the administration’s novel approach to executive power. The exchanges are utterly central to the way Obamacare is supposed to function, and the delay announced  yesterday leaves the prospects for their proper functioning even more grim than they already were…”

Read Yuval’s full piece here:

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About the author

Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute, a public policy research organization that she founded in 1995 to promote an informed debate over free-market ideas for health reform.

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