Obamacare’s endless exemptions

By Mitch McConnell
December 20, 2013

Thursday night, the White House announced yet another exemption from the pain Obamacare is causing so many Americans. This latest “fix” would allow some Americans who’ve lost plans to exempt themselves from Obamacare requirements by claiming the law imposes a “hardship” because it’s “unaffordable.”

“Hardship”…“unaffordable”…these are the Obama administration’s own terms. About its own law.

These are the very things Republicans and health experts warned about for years.

Yet, this is the same Obama administration that steadfastly refused to make meaningful changes to the law before its launch. It’s settled law, they said. We won’t accept common-sense reforms or delays, they insisted.

So they rolled out a law that was nowhere near ready for prime time. When it turned into a public relations disaster, they just issued exemption after exemption, attempted fix after attempted fix. They’ve seemingly changed the law on the fly almost weekly to suit the needs of the White House.

They seem to think that Obamacare is just a PR crisis they need to weather — rather than an actual disaster for consumers they need to solve.

Lost in the administration’s spinning are the millions of Americans — including 280,000 in Kentucky alone — who’ve had their insurance policies cancelled due to this law. Even after President Barack Obama and Democrats in Washington promised they could keep it. No matter what. “Period.”

Lost are the college graduates and middle-class families who simply cannot afford Obamacare’s skyrocketing premiums and deductibles.

I’m sure the administration wants to look like it’s doing something for those who are getting hurt by its own law. But it needs to start actually doing something.

All the delays, waivers and exemptions in the world aren’t going to solve a problem like this. They only create more confusion for a public that’s looking for results, not spin. And many of the administration’s exemptions could force premiums even higher.

Moreover, the White House’s stunts ignore what is fundamentally wrong with Obamacare: The “we know best” attitude that led to it in the first place.

It’s an attitude that says government officials should tell Americans that they must purchase insurance, what kind of insurance it must be and how much it should cost. Anything else they deride as “junk” — though millions of Americans had plans they liked.

It’s also an attitude that refuses to acknowledge when government actually doesn’t know best, even in the face of all the evidence.

Even when millions of Americans lose their insurance. Even when costs skyrocket. Even when we learn that the government cannot build and manage a website, much less run one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

Americans are right to be angry. This isn’t a public relations disaster. It’s a disaster.

The administration might think it’s being clever by issuing another exemption. But what it’s really doing is proving the point that Obamacare cannot work.

For the administration is now admitting that some Obamacare policies are “unaffordable,” and can impose a “hardship.”

But this latest exemption only applies to one subset of the American people. Why should only some people be forced to purchase unaffordable coverage, and not others?

It’s time to extend that exemption to all of the people.

That’s why the real answer is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with reforms that lower costs and that Americans support.

It’s time the White House dropped the PR gimmicks and worked with Republicans in Congress to implement the kind of health reform people actually want.

 

PHOTO: President Barack Obama holds his year-end news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington, December 20, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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