The legislation creating ObamaCare was enacted as a sloppy draft, such that it has been changed over and over just to barely make it work. Well, they are at it again, this time with a big illegal “glitch” fix.
The Biden administration is proposing a major expansion of Obamacare—with $45 billion in new spending—without so much as asking Congress for authority.
The White House held a major event this week to mark 12 years since Obamacare was enacted and announce its “administrative action” to open coverage to people who were explicitly excluded under the text of the law.
“The Biden White House has succeeded in convincing the Internal Revenue Service to propose a rule that would illegally extend insurance subsidies to people who are ineligible for them,” Brian Blase explains in an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal.
“Through this rule, if finalized, the IRS will expand ObamaCare subsidies by billions of dollars a year beyond what Congress authorized.”
Even worse: “An illegal administrative fix would mostly displace private spending with government spending as dependents replace employer coverage with subsidized exchange coverage.”
It’s called the “family glitch.” And it wasn’t a mistake when the law was written. It was a deliberate decision to help hold the cost of the law to under $1 trillion. Treasury and IRS agreed that an act of Congress was required to fix the glitch when the Obama administration made a run at it a decade ago.
“At issue is whether an employer’s offer to provide health insurance to an employee’s dependents disqualifies those dependents from ObamaCare subsidies…The trick was determining affordability.” If premiums were deemed affordable to the employee, his or her family wouldn’t be eligible for ObamaCare subsidies.
Brian wrote a paper for us last year when the Biden administration was signaling it planned to proceed with the illegal action, explaining the dreadful details.
“Biden Team is less concerned with the legal or policy merits than offering more ‘free’ healthcare in an election year,” the Journal wrote in a separate editorial. “None of this stopped President Obama from appearing at the White House this week to cheer this subsidy expansion that his own Administration didn’t think could be done without new legislation.”
Nothing has changed in the meantime to make this action legal. But there certainly is an uptick in willingness to break the law to get what the administration wants—this time with cooperation of the IRS that had previously resisted the action.
Mr. Obama said the point of ObamaCare was to “plant a flag”—to make a down payment. “This week’s rule is a reminder that the main White House political goal isn’t to help the poor or those with terrible ailments, but over time to move all Americans to government health insurance,” the Journal concluded.
By hook or crook, apparently. The Galen Institute tracked 70 major changes that were made to ObamaCare in just the first six years. While critics say that Republicans have tried and failed to repeal Obamacare dozens of times, in fact, at least 43 of the changes were made by the Obama administration unilaterally—many also skirting or violating the text of the law.
In addition, Congress passed and former President Obama signed 24 more changes—such as repealing the onerous 1099 reporting requirement for small businesses and repealing the Ponzi-scheme of a long-term care program.
And three more changes were made by the Supreme Court, such as making Medicaid expansion voluntary for states.
***The American Health Care Choices newsletter will take an Easter break. We will be back with our next issue later this month.