New unilateral ObamaCare change gives tax credits to private enrollments after state-exchange debacle

posted at 8:41 am on February 28, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Ho hum — another week, another unilateral change to the ObamaCare law. Without fanfare, HHS changed the way tax credits can be claimed by people who would normally be eligible for subsidies. The Affordable Care Act requires that subsidies only get assigned through ObamaCare exchanges, and there’s even some question as to whether the federal exchange qualifies. That’s to prevent fraud and abuse, but the failures of the state exchanges leaves a lot of Democratic governors who made the mistake of going all-in on ObamaCare in a tough spot. Their state exchanges are largely non compos mentis, which would mean that their voters would miss out on those tax credits.

HHS has waved its magic waiver wand once again:

HHS said state residents who were unable to sign up because of technical problems may still get federal tax credits if they bought private insurance outside of the new online insurance exchanges.

The federal policy change is significant because until now the administration has stressed that the only place to get taxpayer-subsidized insurance under President Barack Obama’s health law is through the new online markets, called exchanges. Previously, people who bought outside the marketplace were not eligible for subsidies, although they benefit from consumer protections in the law.

The White House has come to their rescue, and they’re pretty darned stoked about it, too:

“Today’s news means that many more Oregonians will be able to access better coverage at a more affordable cost,” said Oregon Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, whose state is near the bottom on enrollments.

Why is Oregon near the bottom? It’s because Kitzhaber’s administration spent hundreds of millions of dollars to produce a virtual brick in cyberspace, that’s why. Kithzaber keeps trying to claim that he knew nothing of the failure, but that’s getting more and more difficult to sustain. Oh, and let’s not forget that Oregon took a boatload of money from the federal government under arguably fraudulent circumstances.

Remember this when ObamaCare supporters claim that the problem with the program is Republican obstructionism in the states, and that the Democrats who built state exchanges show how well the system can work. If that was the case, HHS wouldn’t be bailing out Democratic governors  today by making a tax-credit change. And by the way, what jurisdiction does HHS have to make a change to tax-credit statutes, anyway?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

And by the way, what jurisdiction does HHS have to make a change to tax-credit statutes, anyway?

They don’t. But we all knew that. My question is where the hell are they getting this money from? Is there some slush fund they’re tapping into? If not, then Obama is appropriating funds on his own which he has no right to do. If Congress allows this to happen, they may as well not even bother showing up for work anymore.

Doughboy on February 28, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Cue the GOP outrage…….who am I kidding.

Unstinkingbelievable

No outrage until the next gop president does something similar

What can we do…..our congressman aren’t doing squat….we can yell at them until we are blue in the face

cmsinaz on February 28, 2014 at 8:47 AM

The “law” is whatever Obama decides it is today.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Is this not what George Will claimed to be the death knell for O’care, the illegal distribution of funds?

mjbrooks3 on February 28, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Just makes my blood boil on what this administration is getting away with….and lsm just turns its head…..nothing to see here he has to do because of those obstructionist

cmsinaz on February 28, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Until this country starts imprisoning politicians for this kind of fraud, the country has no chance of surviving, let alone succeeding.

Flange on February 28, 2014 at 8:52 AM

Law is meaningless.

p0s3r on February 28, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Until this country starts imprisoning politicians for this kind of fraud, the country has no chance of surviving, let alone succeeding.

Flange on February 28, 2014 at 8:52 AM

It’s become so banana republic corrupt that Obama’s corruption has eclipsed Obama’s Marxism as the biggest impediment to economic growth. Investors don’t invest capital in corrupt regimes. It’s why poverty always follows when a Mugabe or a Chavez or an Obama takes over a country.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Is this not what George Will claimed to be the death knell for O’care, the illegal distribution of funds?

mjbrooks3 on February 28, 2014 at 8:50 AM

It’s more like the death knell for the republic. And that ain’t hyperbole. If Obama can literally hand out bailout money like this to blue states that was never approved by Congress, then there’s no longer a purpose for the legislative branch.

Doughboy on February 28, 2014 at 8:56 AM

The supporters won’t listen to us we’re just a bunch of racists who want to see Obama fail…. LA LA LA I can’t hear you…..

cmsinaz on February 28, 2014 at 8:58 AM

What law???…

PatriotRider on February 28, 2014 at 8:58 AM

“Where is the Media????” MSM outrage hissy fit in 1..2…3, oh never mind. The entire Obama HHS cabinet level and above needs to be perp walked on this.

Mini-14 on February 28, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Get some stones and start impeachment proceedings.

BuckeyeSam on February 28, 2014 at 9:00 AM

yeah!, and if any of you ungratful Rubes STILL want
to B*tch about your personal problems with
this Law, you’re Liars!

ToddPA on February 28, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Previously, people who bought outside the marketplace were not eligible for subsidies, although they benefit from pay out the nose for consumer protections in the law.

Hill60 on February 28, 2014 at 9:02 AM

“Where is the Media????” MSM outrage hissy fit in 1..2…3, oh never mind. The entire Obama HHS cabinet level and above needs to be perp walked on this.
Mini-14 on February 28, 2014 at 8:58 AM

When this Regime is finally put down we are going to need a repeat of the Nuremberg Trials. We will also need a period of “De-Obamazation” purge of every department, and every judicial district.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 9:02 AM

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Yep. And what investments do get made are ripe with corruption. Even without their illegal invaders coming here, we’re turning into a garbage bin like Mexico.

Flange on February 28, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Could there be another reason as well? I bought off of the exchanges, in part because I didn’t WANT the subsidies. How many people are showing that they reject Obamacare by rejecting subsidies that they are eligible for?

Obama needs to be able to go out and say: look at all the people government is helping through subsidies! If they aren’t accepting them, he has a problem.

HakerA on February 28, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Exhanges? We don’t need no stinkin’ exhanges! Who wants some money?

Hill60 on February 28, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Yep. And what investments do get made are ripe with corruption. Even without their illegal invaders coming here, we’re turning into a garbage bin like Mexico.

Flange on February 28, 2014 at 9:03 AM

We are becoming Kenya and Indonesia so that puppy-taster feel more at home.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 9:06 AM

“Today’s news means that many more Oregonians will be able to access better coverage at a more affordable cost,” said Oregon Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, whose state is near the bottom on enrollments.

Three!

Akzed on February 28, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Every bureaucrat involved in distributing this money is complicit in stealing it. Just following orders is no defense.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 9:08 AM

They don’t. But we all knew that. My question is where the hell are they getting this money from? Is there some slush fund they’re tapping into? If not, then Obama is appropriating funds on his own which he has no right to do. Doughboy on February 28, 2014 at 8:45 AM

That’s why Reid won’t touch a budget with a 10′ pole.

Akzed on February 28, 2014 at 9:08 AM

We are becoming Kenya and Indonesia so that puppy-taster feel more at home.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 9:06 AM

I think that’s why obozo married the Mooch. She reminds him of his transsexual nanny from Indonesia.

Flange on February 28, 2014 at 9:14 AM

The fascists could have saved a lot of ink and paper by simply creating a single page law with the words “Death Care” on it and Dog Eater’s signature at the bottom.

They’re just making it up as necessary, why go through all the trouble of actually defining anything.

But I hope you leftie trash who clamored for this get it back with extreme prejudice.

Bishop on February 28, 2014 at 9:14 AM

It’s threads like these that I really miss the lib commenters.

PALIN!…

GAY MARRIAGE!……….

Huh, normally that brings ‘em running.

Bishop on February 28, 2014 at 9:16 AM

That’s why Reid won’t touch a budget with a 10′ pole.

Akzed on February 28, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Didn’t they just pass the Ryan/Murray budget? I know it funds Obamacare, but does it give Obama or HHS the authority to do this? If so, then any Republican who voted for it has some serious splainin to do.

Doughboy on February 28, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Must be nice to be the one. A never ending stash.

HumpBot Salvation on February 28, 2014 at 9:25 AM

How can the HHS make changes in the taxes. I thought only the House could initiate changes to tax. It would seem that this is also unconstitutional and any citizen of these states would have standing, since that seems to be the new requirement, to sue HHS. This is our money they’re giving out like candy.

Kissmygrits on February 28, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Lefties love this banana republic style of non-representative government.

Unfortunately the pendulum swings both ways. If unelected bureaucrats can create tax credits out of thin air then guess what, they can also take them away with zero congressional oversight, anytime. This type of governance is why banana republics are corrupt hellholes.

tobes on February 28, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Just another case of picking and choosing what they want in the “law”, which is really nothing more than a bill of suggestions than it is law. Like others here have asked, where is this extra money coming from to support this? This all reminds me of a couple of lines from the musical 1776. John Adams at one point asks:

Is anybody there?
Does anybody care?

We have gone from a nation of laws to government by whims and dictates. Transformation? Yes, but more like transmogrification (to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect — although there is nothing humorous about this).

CPRforAmerica on February 28, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Couldn’t a resident of a Federal exchange state who purchases directly from the insurer instead of through the exchange sue the IRS for their tax credits?

blammm on February 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM

To many holes in the lie made dike, not enough liar fingers to plug all the holes.

They will drown in facts nothing can save these loon liar Democrats now.

Well other than the RINO’s taking their place under the dam when it breaks.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 28, 2014 at 9:44 AM

blammm

The IRS is immune to the rule of law, they vote Democrat.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 28, 2014 at 9:45 AM

And by the way, what jurisdiction does HHS have to make a change to tax-credit statutes, anyway?

King Barack the Magnificent, long may He rule, said so. He has a pen and a phone.

GarandFan on February 28, 2014 at 9:46 AM

If the opposition weren’t completely impotent and incompetent, these constant, lawless changes would be grounds for impeachment. We’ve gone from executing laws to ruling by whim and political expediency, and it merits much more attention than it’s been getting. Ed asks how HHS can change tax credit statutes? Because they know there is no one out there that will will challenge them on it, that’s why. The media is completely in bed with the admin and focuses more on Faux News and what Arizonans are up to than the imperial moves by the president, and the GOP can’t get out of it’s own way long enough to call attention to it.

changer1701 on February 28, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Couldn’t a resident of a Federal exchange state who purchases directly from the insurer instead of through the exchange sue the IRS for their tax credits?

blammm on February 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM

The new policy “fix” is available to any state.

lynncgb on February 28, 2014 at 9:47 AM

And by the way, what jurisdiction does HHS have to make a change to tax-credit statutes, anyway?

.
From the “Good and Plenty Clause,” Comrade… now show me your identification card.

ExpressoBold on February 28, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Even if this is lawless the GOP should seize upon this and extend the tax credits to everyone buying outside of the exchanges. The objective clearly to gut the Obamacare exchanges and move people to own their health insurance without government mandate. But they are too stupid to do it.

ojfltx on February 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM

OOPS!!!

Organizing for Action
45m
White House-backed advocacy group fires fundraiser, returns $100,000 check she collected from doctor seeking pardon for Medicare fraud – @NBCNews
read more on nbcnews.com

canopfor on February 28, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Don’t need no stinkin’ defined jurisdiction! We are the BOMB. (Oh, wait, I’ve just been tagged by the NSA)…NO…NO…argh!!!

vnvet on February 28, 2014 at 10:04 AM

This is why, try as I might to be respectful of troll opinions, I have nothing but contempt for them, because they are willing to defend this behavior…….

itsspideyman on February 28, 2014 at 10:04 AM

I wonder if it was Organizing For Ukraine,..er,..America Operation!
(sarc)

RT ‏@RT_com 1h

#YANUKOVICH: West initiated this crisis. They backed Maidan, and they have to take full responsibility. WATCH LIVE http://youtu.be/ZxI7d5aaZ_M

canopfor on February 28, 2014 at 10:06 AM

The new policy “fix” is available to any state.

lynncgb on February 28, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Is that true though?

HHS said state residents who were unable to sign up because of technical problems may still get federal tax credits if they bought private insurance outside of the new online insurance exchanges.

blammm on February 28, 2014 at 10:07 AM

D*mmitt,…wrong thread,..disregard the USSR comment above!

Le Ugh!

canopfor on February 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Is that true though?

blammm on February 28, 2014 at 10:07 AM

This is from the link.

Although the new policy fix is available to any state, Republican governors basically defaulted to federal control of online sign-ups in their states. Those who stand to benefit the most are Democratic governors who plunged ahead and ran into problems. Some are facing sharp criticism at home, from both sides of the political aisle.

lynncgb on February 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM

From the Tax Policy Briefing Book on line:

Most tax credits are nonrefundable; that is, they cannot reduce a person’s tax liability below zero. As a result, low-income tax filers often cannot get the full benefit of the credits for which they qualify. Some tax credits, however, are fully or partially refundable: if their value exceeds a person’s tax liability, the excess is paid to the filer. The earned income tax credit (EITC) is fully refundable; the child tax credit (CTC) is refundable only to the extent that the filer’s earnings exceed a specified threshold—$3,000 in 2011. These two credits accounted for more than 52 percent of the dollar value of all credits claimed in 2009.

Can someone tell me (1) if these health care tax credits will be nonrefundable or refundable and (2) why shouldn’t everyone who buys their health insurance throughout the united states be eligible for a tax credit for the expense? Maybe this should be the Republican argument.

gracie on February 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

If you want insurance in Oregon you have to fill out a 19 page form because the web site doesn’t work. That’s all thanks to our incompetent Governor.

regmgr on February 28, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Did we just move to Venezuela?

*facepalm*

Ward Cleaver on February 28, 2014 at 10:34 AM

The federal policy change is significant because until now the administration has stressed that the only place to get taxpayer-subsidized insurance under President Barack Obama’s health law is through the new online markets, called exchanges. Previously, people who bought outside the marketplace were not eligible for subsidies, although they benefit from consumer protections in the law.

I should be more outraged, but I can’t stop laughing. I just have this vision of Obama telling Sebelius, “Come on now. This is getting embarrassing.”

150 days now, and the websites are not only not working, but the administration has given up on pretending they were working, even though they were the way that the administration planned to get everyone dependent on the government for meadical insurance — and ultimately, for healthcare itself.

So, without further ado:

Ed –
You mean the websites aren’t working perfectly on day one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three twenty-four twenty-five twenty-six twenty-seven twenty-eight twenty-nine thirty thirty-one thirty-two thirty-three thirty-four thirty-five thirty-six thirty-seven thirty-eight thirty-nine forty forty-one forty-two forty-three forty-four forty-five forty-six forty-seven forty-eight forty-nine fifty fifty-one fifty-two fifty-three fifty-four fifty-five fifty-six fifty-seven fifty-eight fifty-nine sixty sixty-one sixty-two sixty-three sixty-four sixty-five sixty-six sixty-seven sixty-eight sixty-nine seventy seventy-one seventy-two seventy-three seventy-four seventy-five seventy-six seventy-seven seventy-eight seventy-nine eighty eighty-one eighty-two eighty-three eighty-four eighty-five eighty-six eighty-seven eighty-eight eighty-nine ninety ninety-one ninety-two ninety-three ninety-four ninety-five ninety-six ninety-seven ninety-eight ninety-nine one hundred one hundred one one hundred two one hundred three one hundred four one hundred five one hundred six one hundred seven one hundred eight one hundred nine one hundred ten one hundred eleven one hundred twelve one hundred thirteen one hundred fourteen one hundred fifteen one hundred sixteen one hundred seventeen one hundred eighteen one hundred nineteen one hundred twenty one hundred twenty-one one hundred twenty-two one hundred twenty-three one hundred twenty-four one hundred twenty-five one hundred twenty-six one hundred twenty-seven one hundred twenty-eight one hundred twenty-nine one hundred thirty one hundred thirty-one one hundred thirty-two one hundred thirty-three one hundred thirty-four one hundred thirty-five one hundred thirty-six one hundred thirty-seven one hundred thirty-eight one hundred thirty-nine one hundred forty one hundred forty-one one hundred forty-two one hundred forty-three one hundred forty-four one hundred forty-five one hundred forty-six one hundred forty-seven one hundred forty-eight one hundred forty-nine one hundred fifty one hundred fifty-one
verbaluce on October 1, 2013 at 10:18 AM

(H/T NotCoach)

It just keeps going and going and going….

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 28, 2014 at 10:47 AM

There should not have been a requirement to go through data insecure websites to get a subsidy in the first place. Perhaps it should have just been electronically submitted with ones tax return via channels that are already secured. Clearly this issue needs to be addressed but it should be addressed by Congress in a thoughtful manner rather than Ad Hoc rule change of the day.

KW64 on February 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Jureesdeection? We don’t need no stinking Jureesdeection!

motionview on February 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Cue the GOP outrage…….who am I kidding

This is getting to be THE QUESTION among conservative Republican voters.

Yes, the Obama administration is repeatedly breaking, rewriting, and redefining the law with no authority. Yes, the Democrats and the Obama administrations routinely lie about Obamacare and everything else. Yes, federal spending and regulations are in dangerous territory. Yes, U.S. foreign policy is in chaos.

But where is the pushback from incumbent Republicans. If the opposition party is afraid to raise their voices, is there really an opposition party. It’s long past time for loud, noisy action from the Republican establishment.

pilsener on February 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM

…is there any reason…any of the masses…should obey ANY law?

KOOLAID2 on February 28, 2014 at 10:55 AM

The fascists could have saved a lot of ink and paper by simply creating a single page law with the words “Death Care” on it and Dog Eater’s signature at the bottom.

They’re just making it up as necessary, why go through all the trouble of actually defining anything.

But I hope you leftie trash who clamored for this get it back with extreme prejudice.

Bishop on February 28, 2014 at 9:14 AM

You know, people wondered why Obama just lay back and let Nancy Pelosi write the Obamacare bill rather than trying to come up with his own version. In the Clinton administration, Hillary pretty much handed the bill to Congress already written, and asked them to pass it.

I think you nailed it. Obama didn’t care what was in it, because he never intended to be bound by it.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 28, 2014 at 11:06 AM

The State Run Media and the GOP yawn…

d1carter on February 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM

“There is nothing we can do”…………………..

d1carter on February 28, 2014 at 11:09 AM

It’s good to be King!

TKPedersen42 on February 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM

I think you nailed it. Obama didn’t care what was in it, because he never intended to be bound by it.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 28, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Actually writing a bill also gets in the way of golf and $100 per steak galas with the beautiful people.

I don’t think Obama has actually ever authored ANYTHING.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Did we just move to Venezuela?

*facepalm*

Ward Cleaver on February 28, 2014 at 10:34 AM

In Soviet Russia, Venezuela moves into YOU.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 11:34 AM

I think you nailed it. Obama didn’t care what was in it, because he never intended to be bound by it.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 28, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Actually writing a bill also gets in the way of golf and $100 per steak galas with the beautiful people.

I don’t think Obama has actually ever authored ANYTHING.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Granted, Obama was never going to do anything himself. But he didn’t even ask Valerie Jarret or any of his hangers-on to do it.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

I don’t think Obama has actually ever authored ANYTHING.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Basically a very lazy man who never had a job, never had to work hard at anything, spent years abusing drugs and getting away with it (thanx to his white grandmother who indulged him), read what he wanted to, never really wrote anything of import, not a bill, not public policy…NOTHING. All handed to him, everything, in great part because of affirmative action and his race. He has no critical thinking skills…just a rust ideology that always ends up with the same results. He’s just a prop for the liberals and their pal Soros. And now we see the fruits of his labor…what more could we expect?

gracie on February 28, 2014 at 11:46 AM

The Affordable Care Act requires that subsidies only get assigned through ObamaCare exchanges, and there’s even some question as to whether the federal exchange qualifies. That’s to prevent fraud and abuse…

With this change applied to all the states, the website at healthcare.gov should no longer have any use and could be shut down.

Healthcare.gov has arguably greater potential for fraud and abuse than simply letting the insurance companies bill Reichsmarschall Sebelius for the subsidy amounts.

So why didn’t the proggies do it this way to begin with? Obviously because that healthcare.gov database is useful for a lot more things, like Democratic Party GOTV at election time.

slickwillie2001 on February 28, 2014 at 11:52 AM

When this Regime is finally put down we are going to need a repeat of the Nuremberg Trials. We will also need a period of “De-Obamazation” purge of every department, and every judicial district.ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 9:02 AM

This bears repeating again and again.

AH_C on February 28, 2014 at 12:32 PM

I’m not going to participate in Obamacare, and I’m not going to pay a penalty either because the whole thing is ILLEGAL and a SCAM and I refuse to be a part of it in any way, shape or form….. If the whole country felt the same way and refused to have anything to do with it, Obamacare would hit the dust in no time…

BikerGuy57 on February 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM

WE MIGHT AS WELL HAVE HAD A COUP D’ETAT LED BY OBAMA.

WE SHOULD NO LONGER CALL IT THE “OBAMA ADMINISTRATION”.

IT’S THE OBAMA JUNTA.

HE IS THE LAW.

UNTIL IMPEACHED.

OR SOMEONE ELSE IS ELECTED WHO IS WILLING TO FAITHFULLY EXECUTE THE LAWS AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION.

reliapundit on February 28, 2014 at 1:33 PM