Health

Obamacare: Patches On Patches Until It Collapses

The fact that they have to keep changing and changing Obamacare shows how badly designed it was, and is.

Patches on Patches on Obamacare 'til it collapses, or catches fire (Dr. Deane Waldman)

Anyone who knows computers knows why you have to keep patching, or changing an operating system, and what eventually happens.

Any system, say Obamacare, that needs patches on top of patches, changes piled on previous changes, was designed improperly in the first place. What happens over time?

The system slows down, ceases to function, and collapses.

[sharequote align="center"]The complexity and contradictions that drive more patching promotes expansion of the bureaucracy. [/sharequote]

On Feb. 20, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a new, special extension to the 2015 open enrollment period for healthcare.gov. This is patch number I-don’t-know-what on Obamacare. Certainly the number of changes is in the thousands. Obamacare has been altered more times than all the dresses on runway models.

It’s not just the 46 major and obvious changes in the president’s “established law.” For every one of these big changes, there are hundreds to thousands of smaller changes that you don’t see but that affect you. There are deadlines that aren’t really deadlines; well-disguised taxes on top of other new taxes; exemptions, waivers, and opt-outs (for the select); exceptions for favored States; and a myriad of uncountable and intentionally uncounted rule changes.

All changes made to Obamacare are for political advantage. None will improve your health. Isn’t our good health the purpose of this healthcare reform?

Today’s Obamacare bears little resemblance to what the president signed on March 23, 2010 and looks nothing like what he promised the American people. The following is a very small sampling of all the changes to the president’s namesake law.

Improper Patches

Congress is supposed to make laws. The Executive Branch is supposed to implement laws, not alter them.

  • Obamacare reads that subsidies can only flow through exchanges “established by the State.” This provides an incentive for States to create their own exchanges. Thirty-seven choose not to do so. As healthcare.gov was created by the federal government, it was not allowed to offer subsidies. The IRS issued a ruling allowing it to do just that. The Supreme Court will adjudicate this controversy on March 4, 2015.
  • On White House orders, enrollment in Obamacare’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program was stopped before less than one third of all eligible Americans could sign up.
  • First, only Obamacare-compliant insurance could be offered, then Washington reversed itself saying carriers could offer older plans. While Washington can reverse course instantly, insurance carriers cannot. So, millions of Americans did lose insurance plans they liked.
  • The repeated misfires of healthcare.gov are well known. Question: How many patches does it take to make healthcare.gov work? Answer: about a billion dollars’ worth and counting. In fact a new failure arose requiring a new patch just this week. Based on instructions from healthcare.gov, the IRS sent out incorrect forms to taxpayers. At least 800,000 filings will be incorrect because they did what the IRS told them to do.

Patches by Congress

  • The Community Living Assistance Services and Support plan was canceled soon after the law was passed. The Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who voted for Obamacare, dubbed it a “Ponzi scheme of the first order.” If it was a fraud, why did they put it in the law in the first place?
  • Congress repealed the “1099 mandate” requiring businesses to report to the IRS all transactions with vendors that were less than $600. Why was this in the law at all?
  • Congress cut funding to various Obamacare-mandated agencies such as the IRS, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, Medicare Trust-fund Transfer, the Prevention and Public Health slush fund, and the Free-Choice Voucher program.

Exemptions and Waivers

  • Congress exempted its staff from facing the increased costs of Obamacare insurance.
  • Unions were exempted from the reinsurance fee, forcing non-union insurance plans pay more.
  • Though prior rules prohibit Washington from exempting certain U.S. territories and not others, that is precisely what Obamcare did.
  • Military plan benefits did not include Obama’s mandatory “Eight Essential Benefits.” So, Congress declared TRICARE as Obamacare-compliant, even though it is not.

Deadlines … Delayed

  • Start with the latest extended deadline for the 2015 open enrollment. Congress had a reason for fixed enrollment periods so why extend them repeatedly? To qualify for this extension, all you have to do is “attest” that you did not know about the penalty. How could anyone not in a coma fail to know about Obamacare penalties?
  • Administration delayed the employer reporting requirements that was mandated in Obamacare.
  • Administration delayed activation of the penalty for individuals who failed to purchase insurance.
  • The Congressional Research Service estimates that Obamacare missed as many as one third of all its legally required deadlines.

Some States Are More Equal Than Others

  • More than 300,000 Massachusetts citizens were granted Medicaid coverage without verification of their eligibility – this was waived by the federal government. Further, the administrations of Obama and former Gov. Deval Patrick used tax-payer funds to prop up the collapsing Massachusetts Health Insurance website.

Patches by the Supreme Court

  • Obamacare required States to expand their Medicaid programs. The Supreme Court declared this provision unconstitutional. Expansion became voluntary, and 21 states chose not to volunteer (expand.)
  • The Individual Mandate (federal requirement to buy insurance) was ruled unconstitutional. The actual penalty was ruled allowable if it was declared a tax. This is ironic as President Obama promised there would be no tax on the middle class.
  • Though Obamacare requires insurance plans to offer contraceptives, the Supreme Court said in the Hobby Lobby case that this violated federal law guaranteeing religious freedom.
  • There is a reasonable probability the Supreme Court will decide for plaintiffs in King v. Burwell. This will prohibit the federal platform – healthcare.gov – from distributing subsidies that hide the true (increased) costs of insurance.

Why is this happening? You might think it is just poor planning plus taking opportunities to gain tactical political advantage, and you would be right. However, there is a deeper, well-hidden strategic purpose at work.

Patches on patches for Obamacare 'til it collapses, or catches fire (Dr. Deane Waldman)

All the complexity and contradictions that drive more and more patching actually promote expansion of the bureaucracy. The underlying problem is cancer – a malignant federal bureaucracy that serves only itself. What it “serves” to itself is … us.

Complexity necessitates more rules, more oversight, more penalties, and particularly, more bureaucrats. The mindless intricacies, internal contradictions, and constant patching are all part of a strategy to achieve an omnipotent bureaucratic Big Brother.

Does the Chairman of the Board of General Electric dictate the font size and typeface of the forms that line workers fill out to take authorized bathroom breaks?

Why do the president and the Congress control everything down to that level for Obamacare? That is “nano-management – a thousand times worse than micromanagement.” Nano-management requires more bureaucracy and more bureaucrats, and thereby giving Washington more power, over us.

Who pays for bureaucratic expansion? We do, in dollars and life. Yes, life. Where do those dollars to expand bureaucracy come from? Answer: patient care services – cuts to Medicare reimbursements. We get new bureaucrats in exchange for losing doctors.

Cancer of bureaucracy wins. We The Patients lose. And the patches just keep on comin’.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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