Obamacare: The Clock Ticks Towards More Pain

Open Enrollment ScreenIn an article from the Associated Press:

Three senior House members told The Associated Press that they plan to strongly urge the administration to grant a special sign-up opportunity for uninsured taxpayers who will be facing fines under the law for the first time this year.

The three are Michigan’s Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, and Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, and Lloyd Doggett of Texas. All worked to help steer Obama’s law through rancorous congressional debates from 2009-2010.

The lawmakers say they are concerned that many of their constituents will find out about the penalties after it’s already too late for them to sign up for coverage, since open enrollment ended Sunday.

That means they could wind up uninsured for another year, only to owe substantially higher fines in 2016. The fines are collected through the income tax system.

They have been running commercials on television, and countless ads on the internet explaining the Feb 15th deadline to sign up for coverage for the last few months.  If you didn’t make the Feb 15th deadline, you could have at least started an application and completed it before March 15th in order to avoid paying the penalty.

Now, all of a sudden, this is a big deal to Democrats who might face voter retribution on their signature legislation, except this is an “I told you so!” moment.  For 2014, big deal is for being uninsured; it will cost you $325 or 2% of your gross income, whichever is greater. One of the main reasons for opposition to the individual mandate is that it is a tax penalty, something the Democrats sold it was not, but the Supreme Court affirmed as the only way to save the legislation.

The bigger issue, however, is what didn’t happen.  Economic recovery that would have minimized the tax penalty is looming heavy over liberal heads.  While they publicly point to the stock market and unemployment, they are silent on wage growth, wealth inequality, lower job participation rate, and rising dependence on government assistance, all happening during their watch.  All of these are important issues within the middle class.

Whenever Democrats are confronted with these arguments, they blame the previous administration and how Republicans have stopped all progress on Obama’s agenda.  Again, they ignore the fact they had a filibuster proof majority in 2009 and 2010, and the only thing they managed to pass was Healthcare, Frank Dodd and given a small tax reduction in the payroll tax (which was reinstated after the time period expired because Democrats refused to allow Republicans to make it permanent.)

In my previous article regarding Obamacare, I showed how much had changed about my own company supplied insurance and the increases of my out of pocket medical expenses.  There were other promises that were broken, but when explaining these issues to liberals, their argument was that my previous plan was just junk.  In other words, we tell you what you need, rather than I get to pick what I think works for me.

So what will happen now?  If Obama decides to once again, skirt the law, and provide relief as the Democrats have suggested, then he will have unknowingly proven Conservative arguments that the law is not as good as he touted.  Which, of course, begs the original question:  If it was supposed to be so good in the first place, why does he need to change it to match more closely with Republican ideals?  If he doesn’t make the change, then a lot of Democrats are going to be fuming.

As they say, be careful what you wish for.

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