I hope you will forgive me for assuming the Obama administration was merely bumping their normal Friday news dump forward to before the July 4th holiday, with their announcement that they would effectively delay the employer mandate’s implementation for a year. This was not the case – instead, the much bigger news, and far more devastating to any remaining claims that Obamacare is being properly implemented, was buried on Friday: the news that the most significant entitlement increase since the Great Society will be operating on the honor system.
Sarah Kliff and Sandhya Somashekhar report: “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… After encountering “legislative and operational barriers,” the federal government will not require the District and the 16 states that are running their own marketplaces to verify a consumer’s statement that they do not receive health insurance from their employer… The federal government will, however, conduct an audit for the states where it is managing the new insurance Web portal. The rule also scaled back states’ responsibilities to double-check the income levels that consumers report, which determine any tax subsidy they receive.” Note the fun quote from Timothy Jost about how this is all totally cool.
Subsidize first, ask questions later. “We have concluded that the…proposed rule is not feasible for implementation for the first year of operations,” say the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “The exchange may accept the applicant’s attestation regarding enrollment in an eligible employer-sponsored plan…without further verification, instead of following the procedure in §155.320(d)(3)(iii).” And it’s not just there. The feds will also allow people to gain means-tested subsidized coverage on the exchanges without having to…test their means. “For income verification, for the first year of operations, we are providing Exchanges with temporarily expanded discretion to accept an attestation of projected annual household income without further verification.”