Sunday, July 7, 2013

...and then when elected, they prove it!

So there's a story that the right-wing noise machine has picked up on this weekend, with predictable results: WaPo:
The Obama administration announced Friday that it would significantly scale back the health law’s requirements that new insurance marketplaces verify consumers’ income and health insurance status. Instead, the federal government will rely more heavily on consumers’ self-reported information until 2015, when it plans to have stronger verification systems in place.
Now, combined with the other announcement, of a different Obamacare-related enforcement mechanism being slow-rolled during 2014, this is starting to paint a few dots that might be connected.

So far, all the commentary on Memeorandum is from right-wingers, and they're all pushing the narrative that this is A WIDE-OPEN INVITATION TO FRRRAAAUUUDDD!!! Naturally. I think my favorite headline is from Glenn "The pride of the Tennessee highlands" Reynolds, who think that "it's basically like Pigford".

Please, your honor, don't explain your Pigford theory to us... we already know that you're just using the word as code for "reparations". Instead, please do explain exactly who could defraud what out of whom, in this story?

You see, no one is getting paid at the point of the exchanges. When you sign up for insurance on the exchanges, you still have to pay your premiums. It's ain't gonna be free. However, if your income is low enough, you'll get some (perhaps even all, I suppose) of your premium back as part of your tax refund.

But lying about your income when you sign up for insurance on the exchange won't help you get a larger refund at tax time. So a little bit of critical thinking is all you need to realize that there's no new opening for fraud here.

Ah, you say, but what about people who aren't eligible for insurance on the exchanges in the first place? That sounds awful. But wait, remind us again how someone could be ineligible for exchange-based insurance? Oh, right, that would be if their employer already offers group coverage.

You know what would be a really important first step in checking and enforcing that eligibility requirement? Mandated reporting by employers of health coverage.


So yeah, to whoever came up with their fraud theory:

But there is still a story here, because regulatory agencies don't just start announcing that they're not enforcing stuff without a reason. This is Washington we're talking about here, and that's essentially giving up power. What we're seeing is, I think, the result of Congressional sclerosis. The usual order of business would be that the executive sub-branch tasked with implementing a law would find a knot in the text of the law, or find that the administrative structure laid out in the law was somehow causing problems, and would get a fix to the chair of the relevant committee, who would insert it into an unrelated bill by unanimous consent.

But we don't see that happen anymore, because one of our parties isn't interested in governing any more. They're simply not interested in solving problems -- they've decided their interests lie in creating and perpetuating them. Specifically when it comes to Obamacare, the Republican party has decided that their interests lie with the law being implemented with all mistakes intact. In particular, one aspect of this story appears to be that the relevant administrative departments are understaffed and subject to contradictory requirements in the law.

Remember that old line: Democrats run for office preaching the gospel of how government has the power to solve problems. Republicans run on how bad government is at solving problems...

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