Muddling through is becoming a kind description for the implementation of Obamacare.
In addition to a multitude of operational problems and cost misfires we recently learned that the employer mandate would be delayed for a year.
On Friday another shoe dropped. The government is delaying for a year verification of who is eligible for subsidies.
A reader in the health care industry sent along this WaPo article, Health insurance marketplaces will not be required to verify consumer claims (emphasis mine):
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….
Still, [Timothy S.] Jost [a law professor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va] said, Friday’s rule shows that the government is in “triage mode. They have tried to figure out what they need to do right now and what they can delay until later. And they are very low on resources.”
Ian Spatz, a senior adviser at Manatt Health Solutions, agreed.
“As crunch time is coming, they’re just muddling through and figuring out short cuts,” he said. “It might not be elegant, but this is how they’re trying to make the law work.”
Opening the door wide open to fraud could well increase the number of people in the exchanges, but it will also make that number far less meaningful—casting a shadow over whatever is achieved by the enrollment effort set to launch in the fall. It will also, needless to say, increase the cost of the exchange subsidies. The administration is clearly worried enough about enrollment to take that risk and bear that cost. It seems to be operating under the assumption that the way to secure Obamacare’s future is to get as many people as possible into the system and receiving subsidies. Maybe they’re right, and maybe they’re wrong, but they certainly seem increasingly desperate.
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