Originally published January 3 2014
Obama changes Obamacare yet again: no penalty for people whose plans were canceled
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Under our small "r" republican system of government, when the presidents sign bills passed by both chambers of Congress, it becomes a law that the chief executive, by his oath of office, affirms that he will "faithfully" execute and uphold.
With few exceptions, presidents generally fulfilled this constitutional requirement since our founding. Barack Obama, however, has redefined the term "faithfully execute" to mean whatever he wants it to mean, depending on the day and how the political winds are blowing.
Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, Obama has unilaterally - and unconstitutionally - changed portions of it more than a dozen times, and always to suit the political needs of Democrats in Congress (not a single Republican voted for Obamacare). What's more, his changes are confusing tens of millions of Americans, as well as two entire industries - healthcare and health insurance - because they are creating a huge amount of uncertainty about the future.
Obama's latest change involves lifting the Obamacare mandate to buy insurance in 2014 for millions of Americans who lost their current coverage because their plans did not meet the law's minimum standards, as reported by Bloomberg:
People losing coverage will now be allowed to buy bare-bones "catastrophic" insurance that the law usually limits to those younger than age 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said yesterday. Others can opt out completely without the threat of the fines being imposed next year on the uninsured as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Granted, "officially," the decision came from a government bureaucracy - but it is a bureaucracy that is controlled by, and answerable to, the Executive Branch. In other words, the President.
While the change will reportedly only affect a half-million people - according to Obama administration figures (and this White House has been totally honest about Obamacare all along, right?), insurers noted that the exemptions are liable to keep younger, healthier Americans from buying coverage through the Obamacare federal exchange. That's a problem, because younger, healthier people who do not incur much in the way of health costs every year are needed to pay for older, unhealthier Americans who require much more care.
Needless to say, this latest in a series of changes is being panned by experts and ordinary Americans alike.
"This latest rule change could cause significant instability in the marketplace and lead to further confusion and disruption for consumers," Karen Ignagni, the president of America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's Washington-based lobbying group, said in an e-mail sent to Bloomberg by a spokesman.
'Less people will be insured than before Obamacare'
In explaining his legally questionable decisions, Obama has said he is merely trying to allow more people time to sign up for coverage after the botched roll-out of Healthcare.gov in October. But the truth is much less complicated - and more cynical. In reality, as polls have shown, Democrats are getting hammered by the public over the law that they alone passed; Obama's delays and other changes are designed to mitigate Americans' anger and buy Democrats time until the 2014 mid-term elections.
The latest exemption is for a year, but - if Democrats continue to suffer politically - there is no reason not to expect Obama to delay several of the law's mandates even longer.
Republicans and other critics of the law note that it appears to be doing the opposite of what it was supposed to accomplish.
"The sad reality is that when the law takes effect come Jan. 1, more Americans will be without coverage under Obamacare than one year ago," Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. - who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee - said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. "Rather than more White House delays, waivers, and exemptions, the administration should provide all Americans relief from its failed law."
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