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Another bug in the Obamacare law


... or is it a feature?


President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

After initially downplaying any concern, the Obama administration said late Tuesday it would look for a fix.

Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility. It might be compared to allowing middle-class people to qualify for food stamps.

... Former Utah governor Mike Leavitt said bringing early retirees in will "just add fuel to the fire," bolstering the argument from Republican governors that some of Washington's rules don't make sense.

"The fact that this is being discovered now tells you, what else is baked into this law?" said Leavitt, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under President George H.W. Bush. "It clearly begins to reveal that the nature of the law was to put more and more people under eligibility for government insurance."

The Medicare actuary's office roughed out some examples to illustrate how the provision would work. A married couple retiring at 62 in 2014 and receiving the maximum Social Security benefit of $23,500 apiece could get $17,000 from other sources and still qualify for Medicaid with a total income of $64,000. (emphasis added)

In other related news, the Obama Administration announced last Friday morning that no more new Obamacare waivers will be issued after September 22.  The Administration also announced that all approvals or renewals issued by that date will be valid through the end of 2013.  According to the Administration, waivers will be unnecessary beginning in 2014, when all of the main coverage and subsidy provisions in the law will take affect.

Whatever.  As Michelle Malkin notes, the most likely reason for ending the waivers is the unmistakable odor of cronyism emanating from them.  The last thing the Democrats need heading into an election year is another Congressional investigation.  And when you combine the newly-discovered eligibility loophole for retirees with the planned elimination of Medicare Advantage funding, Mike Leavitt's observation rings even more true.  The only way to keep America's health care system from heading off the single payer cliff is a repeal of Obamacare, and that can only be accomplished if Republicans win the White House in 2012.Enhanced by Zemanta


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Comments (47)

"After initially downplayin... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"After initially downplaying any concern, the Obama administration said late Tuesday it would look for a fix."

Yep, I bet they're on it right this minute.

SOMEBODY, maybe lots of "so... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

SOMEBODY, maybe lots of "somebodies", knew this was in there...they put it in there!

Why did they put it in there? To accelerate the bankrupting of America.

Stopping ObamaCare, and stopping Obama are the two priorities...if we lose either or both we are doomed.

If the MSM had devoted a fr... (Below threshold)
hermie:

If the MSM had devoted a fraction of their time to look at the Obamacare Bill rather than Palin's emails, they would have noticed this little item.

But what am I thinking? They didn't care what was in their Messiah's bill. After all they dutifully lapped up Pelosi's staement that Congress would have to pass the bill before they could see what was in it.

Well, if you're actually "s... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

Well, if you're actually "surprised" by this then you just might be dumb enough to have voted for Obama.

Well they had to pass the l... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Well they had to pass the law in order to see what was in it.

Makes sense when you realize that Congress never wrote the law. It arrived on Nancy's desk magically. We still don't know who the 'authors' were.

"We still don't know who t... (Below threshold)
Hank:

"We still don't know who the 'authors' were."

Exactly. And yet, the dems all voted for it not knowing what's in it or who wrote it.
What kind of governing is that?


Or, depending on h... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


Or, depending on how tight your tinfoil hat is, you could look at this as a clever ploy to snare votes from non-traditional sources. I.E. look at what OUR party is doing for YOU.

Finding the above to be factual would NOT surprise me in the least.

Weiner was one of the autho... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

Weiner was one of the authors of the bill which knowing what we know now is scarey. What we need is a candidate that we feel confident will sign the repeal bill when it comes to his desk as president. And not someone that wants to "tweek it". I don't have that confidence with Romney and probably never will. And Huntsman wants to be on Obamalala's ticket as V.P. he likes him so much.

"What kind of governing ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"What kind of governing is that?"

Excellent governing, for the folks in the "I'm too important to actually pay attention to details when there's a golf game waiting" branch of politics.

Sadly, that's what's in charge.

Anyhow, I'm sure that Art W or Chico will be along to explain how this is all just an 'unexpected benefit' of the massive pile of crap that went unexamined through the political intestine.

Funny Art W hasnt come in t... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Funny Art W hasnt come in the thread and spouted his usual nonsense.

His shift probably hasn't s... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

His shift probably hasn't started yet.

I kept Art inundated with k... (Below threshold)
Sep14:

I kept Art inundated with koolish aid til the wee hours of the mourn so he is probably fuzzy right now. Besides, he don't punch in til 2pm.

"What kind of governing is ... (Below threshold)
Sep14:

"What kind of governing is that?"

Its the Chicago way!

Funny Art W hasnt come i... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Funny Art W hasnt come in the thread and spouted his usual nonsense.

Kindergarten gets out at noon. We should hear from him soon.

Mr. Laprarie, Its ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Laprarie,

Its not a "bug" as your title suggest... its a "feature," given to us 100% by Democrats. Same can be said for the boondoggle "stimulus" bill... written and passed in Congress 100% by Democrats.

Leave Democrats in charge of Congress (with super majorities to boot), with the further insult of an enabling Democrat President who lets his minions run amuck in the halls of the legislature, and this is the result: Bills that wantonly and willfully spend with reckless abandon money which we don't have - with no plan whatsoever to pay back what was borrowed on our behalf - and sold to the citizenry with evasion, lies, and deception as its justification.

Hey, you can afford to carry a personal interest only loan of three trillion dollars... if the interest rate is zero... and so can everybody else!... so quit your bitching; this isn't a problem. That folks, is what the Democrats are essentially saying to us. The logic needed to say something like this with a straight face is pure lala-land fairy dust, i.e. a barefaced lie!

The President's last budget (of our so called leader) was shot down by the Senate unanimously (97 to zero)... so he came back with a speech to make things out to be different than what he submitted. A speech! A speech is not a budget. Think not? Just as the non-partisan CBO to score it... Case closed.

Meanwhile, the Democrat controlled Senate hasn't passed a budget in years (neither this year or last year), and their no-budget action record streak is now up to what? 280+ days...

I'm appalled, and so should every citizen that can add two plus two for a sum of four. I'm beginning to believe we might not make it to November 2012 as a solvent country; the USA will loose her AAA credit rating, and soon, the benefits of a global reserve currency as well.

Semper Fidelis-
Brucepall

Hi kids, sorry I'm late -- ... (Below threshold)
Art W:

Hi kids, sorry I'm late -- and sorry that you had to read all of these meaningless drivel comments until I got here. (/sarc off).

Some Republicans charged favoritism in the granting of the waivers, alleging that they were being granted to unions. But a review this week by the Government Accountability Office found that HHS had approved over 95 percent of the 1,400 waiver applications it received, most of them involving employer plans. The nonpartisan investigative agency also found that the administration used objective standards to make its decisions.

Ooops! That quote is from Michael's link - but for some odd reason Michael failed to provide any semblance of an opposing view so he just eliminated the report on the findings from the non-partisan GAO.

Tin-hat Wizbangers will quickly point out that Obama has infested the GAO with sympathetic Muslim extremists who are attempting to institute Sharia law, but then that kind of lunacy is one of the things that makes Wizbangers so much fun to watch.

Whew - I'm sure glad that this blog isn't a circle jerk of racial hatred for Obama, where facts are hidden and opposing views are squelched and ridiculed.

Have nice day all!

What part of the government... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

What part of the government does the GAO fall under. Oh, thats right, the completely non-partasan Executive Branch. FU Art!

Re: " circle jerk ... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Re: " circle jerk of racial hatred for Obama"

Art, have you commented here under another name? I seem to recall a banned troll who used that phrase repeatedly. Unfortunately I cannot recall the name used.

Either that, or many of you on the left seem to have a particular fondness for that phrase. Why is that?

"...I'm sure glad that this... (Below threshold)
LeBron Steinman:

"...I'm sure glad that this blog isn't a circle jerk of racial hatred."
-multiple IP cartoon squirrel Art Woop


I am too. Rest assured the only person we hate is you.

Art,I know that th... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Art,

I know that the GAO's charter is under the Legislative Branch - not the Executive Branch. I also acknowledge their written charter is to represent the interest of the American people.

But who appoints the Comptroller of the United States? Thats right, why the President. He can be removed by Congress only through impeachment. Ever read our Federal Budget? Its available on-line at Treasury.gov. I even read the monthly updates. Guess what happened to our last Comptroller. He resigned. Do you know why?

Let me put it to you like this - The US Comptroller is suppose to sign off on the Federal Budget (indicating its veracity and accuracy). When was the last time he did so? Any clue, Art? Our new Comptroller still hasn't done so since his appointment.

Do me a flavor Art, and spend one day reading our Federal Budget and the historical actions and behaviors of the current GAO Comptroller and then come back here and tell us again why the GAO is non-partisan and has the interest of We the People as their priority.

Semper Fidelis-
Brucepall

Meanwhile ArtOnly ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Meanwhile Art

Only 30% of people polled said they would definitely vote for Obama

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-22/obama-gets-30-of-americans-certain-to-support-re-election-in-economy-poll.html

I wonder if he will even be on the ticket next year. If he is you can count on Hillary as VP as that is the only way he will win (he does have a chance if Huntsman gets the nomination).

I'm sure glad that this ... (Below threshold)
Evil Otto:

I'm sure glad that this blog isn't a circle jerk of racial hatred for Obama, where facts are hidden and opposing views are squelched and ridiculed.

Graves' Law violation.

Aww, what's the matter, WArt, don't have anything left besides the mindless "you're all RACISTS!!!11ONE!" accusation that you leftist drones use instead of actual argument?

Your opinions haven't been "squelched," (unless you're admitting you're the same name-changing troll who's been banned numerous times). I'd laugh if this current screen name you were using was banned and you had to pick another one, though.

As for ridicule, well, you deserve it. You're a cookie-cutter leftist incapable of expressing the slightest though that contradicts the Democrat party line. You show constant contempt for everyone here, so quit whining when your feeble opinions are mocked.

Well, one thing that won't ... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Well, one thing that won't be in Obamacare......

The CEO of IBM offered the Obama administration a free software program that would have cut Medicare and Medicaid fraud by almost a trillion dollars, but he was turned down – twice.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/02/ibm-exec-offers-save-900-billion-health-care-costs-obama-turned-h#ixzz1Q2LDf6t6

obama doesn't have any inte... (Below threshold)
jim m:

obama doesn't have any interest in reducing medicare fraud. Apart from the fact that felons are one of the dem's natural constituencies, reducing fraud would reduce the funding for medicare/medicaid. Reducing the funding would lead to a reduction in the bureaucracy because you wouldn't need all those people to manage the extra money nor would you need the people who are doing such a crappy job at routing out fraud.

Fraud isn't a problem with medicare/medicaid. It's a feature.

So let me see if I understa... (Below threshold)
Wolf:

So let me see if I understand this. The people who think everybody has a right to force doctors and nurses and insurance companies to give them health care, are TRYING TO FORCE EVERYONE to force doctors and nurses and insurance companies to give them health care -- even if they don't believe in it?

And this is some kind of surprise?

Hey Art! You broug... (Below threshold)
Sep14:

Hey Art!

You brought that keg back for a refill I see. What flavour today? Tasmanian Tangerine Dream?

":Whew - I'm sure glad that... (Below threshold)
Sep14:

":Whew - I'm sure glad that this blog isn't a circle jerk of racial hatred for Obama, where facts are hidden and opposing views are squelched and ridiculed.';

Whew! Sure glad you reloaded the Kook-aid funnel! Your gonna need it!

"Your opinions haven't b... (Below threshold)
Art W:

"Your opinions haven't been "squelched"

I and others have had comments edited and/or deleted by Rodney and Drummond - since that's the only way those two can dominate the conversation and protect their moronic followers from the eevil views of liberals.

Um, yeah. That's terrible t... (Below threshold)

Um, yeah. That's terrible that the middle class might also get health care.

Gosh.

The horror.

If this continues, we might someday have the same level of access to good health care as, gosh, every single first world nation.

Jim X Did you read... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Jim X

Did you read the story?

Let me quote it for you

"President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.
"

So you have folks who make 64k a year and are early retirees who will get nearly free medical care. Cant these folks at least pay for their medical care?

Noone is denying them access to medical care. How about paying premiums like everyone else?

These are folks who are making more than 50% of the people in the US and most of those folks are paying some premiums for medical care.

Art wI dont think ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Art w

I dont think your opinions have been squelched. Hell I wish someone would dust off Olaf and ban you sorry ass. If this site were Daily Kos and you were a conservative it would have happened a long time ago.

art W-"I and other... (Below threshold)
Sep14:

art W-

"I and others have had comments edited and/or deleted by Rodney and Drummond - since that's the only way those two can dominate the conversation and protect their moronic followers from the eevil views of liberals."


Bull... If that were true they would just ban you instead of continually cleaning up your re-infestation.

Now quit crying in your kool aid and grow up.

Really Art? So your posts ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Really Art? So your posts have been edited? That makes little sense since doing so would make everyone's replies to you make little sense.

I would make a point of complaining about it specifically when it happens. That way others can speak up about the censorship. Unless you are being vulgar or abusive editing does not generally take place here.

Note also that medicaid is accepted in fewer places than medicare so the net result is to decrease access to healthcare for seniors.

Oops. Just another example of the wisdom of reading what you vote on before you cast the votes.

Better to understand the si... (Below threshold)

Better to understand the situation and not just criticize Obama. Let's hear what he has to say and what he thinks for the betterment of the Americans health care.

Retired military, let me re... (Below threshold)

Retired military, let me read back your quote for you:

The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

So a couple who is making a *combined* $64k, which is $36k apiece, could get Medicaid.

And?

That's not exactly rolling in dough. That's seems more like the lower end of the middle class, especially depending on where you live. But let's say that means they're upper middle class.

I reiterate: so what?

Why is it a bad thing for more people to get good health care they can afford?

Um, yeah. That'... (Below threshold)
Wolf:
Um, yeah. That's terrible that the middle class might also get health care.
The middle class gets health care you disingenuous piece of filth.

What's terrible is that other people have to pay for their health care. I don't want other people paying for my health care. Not even you.

Jim X"Why is it a ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Jim X

"Why is it a bad thing for more people to get good health care they can afford?

"

I pay for my health care. You are talking about folks paying almost nothing for something that folks who are making a lot less are supposed to be using. I make about that much money now Jim and I am working. We are talking about retired folks who are bringing in that much money. I could retire and cut my income down to about 30k a year today and just live off the dole like you are suggesting and let you pay for my health care I suppose.

If healthcare dollars was unlimited then I would have no problem but as someone famously said. "the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money" In additon, the future deficit for medicare medicaid is in the trillions.

Let me quote the Obama administration on this matter.

http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/06/22/pelosi-prediction-backfires-glitches-arise-health-law?test=latestnews

The Obama administration, via a blog, concedes there is trouble. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Richard Sorian wrote, "We are concerned that ... some middle-income Americans may be receiving coverage through Medicaid, which is meant to serve only the neediest Americans." As for what HHS plans to do, Sorian says, "We are exploring options to address this issue."

As to the cost of this "glitch"

"It's gonna cost about $450 billion over 10 years," Senator John Barrasso. R-Wyo., who is also a surgeon, warns. Barrasso says it's yet another burden for average Americans. "Who's gonna pay for that - the taxpayers, people who are paying their bills every day," he says"

Gee Jim. That is $450 billion we dont have. of course we when are running 3 times that just for deficit spending this year it is a drop in a bucket.


In additoin, your original statement indicated that these folks were being denied health care. Do you stand by that or admit that they have a multitude of health care options available? LIke maybe insurance through AARP?
Are you saying thier healthcare insurance would be prohibitively expensive even though they making over twice as much as 50% of americans are making today?

BTW jim<a href="ht... (Below threshold)
retired military:

BTW jim

http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/incometaxandtheirs/a/who-pays-most-income-tax.htm

67k puts you right at the edge of the top 25% of taxpayers. So these folks whom are being denied healthcare are actually making more than about 70% of americans.

The top 25 percent: Americans who earned at least $66,532 paid 86.6 percent of the nation's income taxes, up from 86.3 percent a year earlier.


Meanwile the bottom 50% make half of what these folks make.

"The bottom 50 percent: Americans who earned less than $32,879 paid 2.9 percent of the nation's income taxes, down from 3 percent a year earlier.
"

BTW Jim in ref to the proh... (Below threshold)
retired military:

BTW Jim in ref to the prohibitively expensive healthcare lets look at some facts shall we.

a. If they retired early than chances are they own their own home.

b. At 67k a year that means they probalby pay about 6k a year in taxes after deductions.

c. Even if their healthcare cost $1500 a month for premiums that is 18k a year which means that they would have disposable income for 2 folks of about 43k. which again is more than 50% of the people in the US who are still paying morgages /rent and most likely have kids at home.

d. Do you still contend that they are being denied health care or have no health care options at home other than the paltry sum they would pay under Obamacare?


Please pay off my morgage, and medical bills and then give me 42k a year of disposable income. PLEASE!!!!!!. I know a helluva lot of folks that will take that deal.


"Really Art? So your pos... (Below threshold)
Art W:

"Really Art? So your posts have been edited? That makes little sense since doing so would make everyone's replies to you make little sense. I would make a point of complaining about it specifically when it happens. That way others can speak up about the censorship. Unless you are being vulgar or abusive editing does not generally take place here."

Hard to complain when your complaints are deleted also... but you don't see Rodney or Drummond denying it, do you?

Art WGive it a bre... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Art W

Give it a break.

You are not nearly as annoying as some of the other trolls we have had on this site. You are getting close though.

Any time Jay or anyone else changed their comments or deleted them it was made blatantly obvious to us.

Stop your whining before I we start the call for Olaf to come visit you.

If you want to see censorship in action go to DU post that "you dont think Obama should be elected due to the economy". Your remark will be either deleted or locked, your account banned, and you will be called racist.

You have been spouting your crap for weeks, ever since whats his name got banned (oh happy day) and your crap hasnt been tampered with from what I can see.

Woop is who I was thinking ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Woop is who I was thinking of. Thank goodness he has joined the ranks of the dustbins along with his bud Lee Ward. May you soon go to meet them Art.

A huge chunk of health care... (Below threshold)
epador:

A huge chunk of health care dollars go to folks in the last year of their pissant lives they horribly mismanaged leading to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, tobacco related cancers and other substance abuse related health problems. Why should those SOB's get great health care if they haven't contributed to society in a positive way or paid into the health care system in one way or another?

Perhaps I am talking about ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Perhaps I am talking about a plurality of elected Representatives and Senators.

Or maybe their constituents.

Or maybe both, who are in effect responsible for the Health Care Debacle.

The middle class g... (Below threshold)
The middle class gets health care you disingenuous piece of filth.

Open your eyes, you double-plus-ungood piece of poopy-doopy poopyhead.

Health care that rises hire than the cost of inflation, can potentially bankrupt you, and will drop you with the slightest possible excuse as soon as you *actually need* coverage due to illness and become a 'cost' - is not health coverage. It's extortion.

What's terrible is that other people have to pay for their health care. I don't want other people paying for my health care. Not even you.

Then what's terrible is what's already happening with private insurance. What do you think insurance companies are?? They're a giant pool where people all PAY FOR EACH OTHER'S HEALTHCARE.

Is there something about that which is difficult for you to understand?

The only differences - the ONLY differences - are that:

a) insurance companies also add in a profit, while providing NO additional services.

b) insurance companies ALREADY HAVE death panels which look for people who are about to need coverage and become costly, so they can look for ways to drop them.

I pay for my healt... (Below threshold)
I pay for my health care. You are talking about folks paying almost nothing for something that folks who are making a lot less are supposed to be using. I make about that much money now Jim and I am working. We are talking about retired folks who are bringing in that much money. I could retire and cut my income down to about 30k a year today and just live off the dole like you are suggesting and let you pay for my health care I suppose.

And that would be just fine with me if you did that.

If people here are truly concerned about unfair costs, then the place to look is all the current tax loopholes that allow companies to make record profits **and then receive refunds paid by you and me**.

But I just don't see how something that covers people in the middle class in their sunset years is a bad thing. How often do policies actually benefit the middle class? It's getting rarer and rarer.

Do you still cont... (Below threshold)
Do you still contend that they are being denied health care or have no health care options at home other than the paltry sum they would pay under Obamacare?

I don't contend. Sure, that could be. I said this in my original statement - let's say this makes them upper middle class.

So what?

Let's take it a step further and say this makes them **upper class** income.

So what again?

More people getting health care coverage is not a bad thing. Like it or not, we are paying for other people's health care coverage, whether it is by taxes or by paying premiums into a private insurance company.

That's what being in a society that works together means. We do it because we want to have a healthy society.




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