Obama Administration Delays Individual Mandate for People Whose Insurance Policies Were Canceled



People whose health insurance plans were canceled as a result of Obamacare will not be subject to Obamacare's penalty for being uninsured next year, the administration announced tonight. People whose plans were canceled and are having difficulty paying for a new plan will also be allowed to purchase catastrophic health plans from the exchanges, which had previously been available only to people under the age of 30. 

The way this works is that the law allows for a hardship exemption for people who don't have access to affordable coverage. The White House previewed this argument back in October, when press secretary Jay Carney talked around questions about delaying the individual mandate, saying that "as written, it is clear that people without access to affordable care will not be penalized."

The move is likely to create two political problems for the administration. The first is that insurers don't like it. Health insurance trade group AHIP said tonight that the adjustment "could cause significant instability" in the insurance marketplace and lead to "further confusion and disruption" for health insurance beneficiaries. 

The second is that it's hard to justify offering this exemption to the previously insured but not to those who were previously uninsured. A person's plan is canceled, and as a result that person is not subject to the mandate. But if that person was not insured this year, a person who is otherwise exactly the same is subject to the fine? Good luck selling that one. 

Back in July, the administration issued a strongly worded veto threat for a House bill to delay the mandate for everyone by a year. 

NEXT: Obamacare Individual Mandate Delayed for Those with Canceled Policies

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  1. Well this should lead to a suitable lawsuit since there are identified people who are harmed and should have standing. But when will Congress grow a spine and do something? They won’t, since they can’t believe FYTW applies to them as well.

    1. But when will Congress grow a spine and do something?

      You must be new here.

  2. Oh and first.

  3. Law?? We don’t need no steenkin’ laws!

    1. 1-900-SUD-R-MAN

      1. Sudafed works great for Obamacare congestion.

        I mean, revealing Obamacare congestion.

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t this violate Article 1 section 8 and the XVI Amendment?

    1. Obama thinks it’s really cute that there are people out there who still think the Constitution matters.

    2. General welfare, good and proper, etc.

    3. Constitution? We don’ need no steenkin’ Constitution!

  5. I used to have this boss who was so arbitrary and capricious, she’d change the rules around all the time just to show us she could.

    I used to think she was evil, but watching Obama do the same thing, I’m starting to wonder if maybe, like Obama, she just didn’t know what she was doing.

    It makes people feel important to be able to change the rules around, and it must be hard for Obama to sleep at night, feeling like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. If he can’t feel like he knows what he’s doing, at least he can make himself feel like he’s in charge!

    So, change the rules around, why not? If Obama’s the one changing the rules, then he must be the one in charge. He’s a very important man.

    1. I used to think she was evil, but watching Obama do the same thing, I’m starting to wonder if maybe, like Obama, she just didn’t know what she was doing.

      She and he are power trippers.

      An intelligent and sane incompetent stays out of the way and doesn’t rock the boat.

      A power tripper, competent or not, causes constant turmoil because it’s all about them exercising power.

  6. Hey! Fuck those tax cheats. They should pay their share! (SLD, half sarcasm)

  7. But if that person was not insured this year, a person who is otherwise exactly the same is subject to the fine? Good luck selling that one.

    It is already sold. Who will ever hold Obama’s feet to the fire over this? Hell I am positive I will never hear about this “hard sell” ever again.

  8. I’ll just leave this here.

    1. No littering with YouTube videos.

  9. For those asking about the legality of this, SCOTUS has ruled that Congress can delegate its authority to the Executive as long as it establishes vague and general guidelines within the law.

    The last time this was articulated was in Mistretta v. United States where SCOTUS said that the United States Sentencing Commission was constitutional because society is too complex for Congress to regulate through legislation and so it must give its lawmaking powers to bureaucracies.

    Strangely enough, the lone dissenter was Antonin Scalia, who argued that the commission was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power by Congress to another agency because the guidelines established by the Sentencing Commission have the force of law.


    1. OK, should have read up one comment. Congress can tell the pres he’s the king and SCOTUS says: ‘Fine’.

    2. But isn’t this a very clear violation of the power of the purse? According to the case brief you linked the act needs to have guidelines created by congress. I don’t know of any guidelines in Obamacare that lets HHS or the IRS ignore the penal-tax.

      (I’m aware the eventual answer is going to be FYTW)

    3. Why not just pass an enabling act already and be done with it.

      1. If we’ve learned anything from watching Obama, we’ve learned that we’re already past the point of even needing an enabling act.

  10. OK, so it’s not a law-law, it’s an opportunity to issue one decree after another.
    First, doesn’t that alone disqualify it as vague? I mean, what’s it say: “This bill allows Obo to make up any medical rules he wants as it occurs to him”? I don’t care about whether it’s a fine or not any more (regardless of what that idiot Roberts calls it), I just want to know whether this is a law or not.
    And then: “lead to “further confusion and disruption” for health insurance beneficiaries.”
    IOWs, Obo is saying ‘it won’t cost anything’, but in effect tossing in back on the insurance co’s to make that happen without any mechanism to imburse them for doing so. Or at least, simply tossing it on them to explain why it costs what it does (It’s the LAW).
    Even the Obots are sooner or later gonna get tired of being gamed by this lying piece of shit, and I can only hope it’s sooner.

  11. Oh, and SusanM found this earlier: http://news.yahoo.com/obamacar…..00078.html
    It sure looks to me that the ‘problem’ of people declaring bankruptcy to pay medical bills has been solved quite nicely: you can’t do that anymore and we’ll also take your house.
    Forget bankruptcy; you ain’t that lucky!

    1. That is feature not bug, for this administration. Didn’t they also lower the estate tax from 5mil to 3.5mil?

  12. lol, OK wow that really cracks me up man.


  13. if your personal policy was to be uninsured and maintain cash, that was canceled by Obamacare, so no penalty.

    I love how they keep pretending they haven’t already killed the individual market. it’s dead Jim Pajamaboy.

  14. Rule-of-law – what was that like?

  15. So Obama shut down the government and threatened the government’s credit rating a couple months ago to prevent…what he just did out of political expediency.

  16. This will be an administrative nightmare.
    How is the IRS going to know whose plans were cancelled? I forsee vast headaches dealing with locating old letters and bills. And how do you prove that you can’t afford the new plans? What happens if you live in New York, where the cost of living is very high? Do they judge what you can afford by how much you pay in rent, or do they tell you to move to a cheaper apartment and buy health insurance instead?

    And who makes these decisions? An arbitrary, bribable official somewhere? Maybe I can convince my local health insurance commissar to let me keep my Upper West Side flat and buy a catastrophic coverage plan.

    Ugh. Just let EVERYONE buy catastrophic plans.

  17. Another problem is that this will likely result in an even worse mix of sick vs. healthy people in the exchange. The people who previously had insurance, were the relatively healthy and as numerous people have pointed out, they had to be forced off their older cheaper plans onto more expensive plans to help subsidize the sick people entering the market. If you let those people opt out, then only the sickest people will purchase insurance.

    Plus, with the enrollment period going till march a lot of people will decide they can afford to be uninsured for 6-9 months until the next enrollment period, and take a wait-and-see approach.

    Plus it sets up all sorts of problems next year, when this same group of people becomes a lobby for another year’s extension on their cancelled policies.

    And eventually we end up with a situation where you have an arbitrary group of people on either grandfathered plans, soon-to-be-cancelled plans, catastrophic-over-30 plans, or uninsured-no-penalty all asking for one more year’s extension. And nearly identical people who aren’t in one of those groups that still have to buy an expensive policy or pay the penalty. It’s grossly arbitrary and unfair.

    1. “Plus it sets up all sorts of problems next year, when this same group of people becomes a lobby for another year’s extension on their cancelled policies.”

      Not only next year. They’ve got to keep up this ad hoc propping and patching until after the 2016 elections.

      1. Just like the “doc fix” and any number of other things.

        All these people need to do is get organized and form a lobbying group.

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