ACA Agonistes
Yet Another Obamacare Glitch

Has any major piece of federal legislation been this poorly conceived and drafted? The New York Times reports on new Obamacare glitch that will impact the most vulnerable Americans:

Tens of thousands of people with modest incomes are at risk of losing health insurance subsidies in January because they did not file income tax returns, federal officials and consumer advocates say.

Under federal rules, anyone who receives an insurance subsidy must file a tax return to verify that the person was eligible and received the proper amount of financial assistance based on household income. […]

In July, the Internal Revenue Service said 710,000 people who had received subsidies under the Affordable Care Act had not filed tax returns and had not requested more time to do so.

If those people do not return to the marketplace this fall, they may be automatically re-enrolled in the same or similar health plans at full price. And when they receive an invoice from the insurance company next year, they may be shocked to see that their subsidies have been cut to zero.

The Affordable Care Act is looking more like a clown car than an emergency rescue vehicle. While there is definitely some good in the law, and proponents were absolutely right to say that the U.S. health care system was in need of reform, the new system has never really worked—and the more the law is applied and phased in, the worse the problems are getting.

With even Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton now supporting repeal of a key provision (the Cadillac health care plan tax, which is an essential part of the payment mechanism but which threatens labor union bureaucracies), and Obamacare co-ops withering on the vine even as premiums rise and costs escalate, reform of the reform is now inevitable.

The next president and the next congress won’t be so much celebrating a historic legacy as cleaning the stables. Obamacare is not the future of American health care, not so much because of the opposition of its enemies as because of the design flaws imposed on it by its friends.

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