September 12 2013

Pass It First, Edit It After

Patrice J. Lee

ObamaCare has been fraught with delays and changes over the past three years. Yesterday, we learned that the mammoth legislation has been amended, delayed or retracted 19 times mostly to benefit various constituencies.

In a report, the Congressional Research Service –also known as Congress’s think tank– detailed the various changes to the healthcare reform bill passed just three and a half years ago. President Obama and Congress made 14 changes to his signature legislation some of which were minor and others major, from clarifying eligibility for different demographics to repealing income tax reporting for businesses.

According to the Washington Examiner:

CRS, in the report to Sen. Tom Coburn, said all sides have already agreed to 14 laws that changed parts of ObamaCare, though they were usually minor changes or clarifications.

The ink from Mr. Obama’s signature on the original law was barely dry when, a month later, Congress made the first change, specifying eligibility for veterans who are part of TRICARE. The point was to make sure the law recognized that coverage as meeting the individual mandate. Over the next two years, Congress regularly tweaked those kinds of eligibility requirements.

But CRS said Mr. Obama and Congress also made some bigger changes, including repealing what all sides agreed to be a burdensome income reporting tax on small businesses, repeatedly dipping into provisions of ObamaCare to use money for other spending.

Those cuts included $6.25 billion from Prevention and Public Health and recapturing some of the money that was expected to be overpaid in subsidies to users of the health exchanges.

Mr. Obama has also acted on his own, declaring five separate delays this year. Most recently he announced one-year delays on checking the applicants for exchanges to see if they should have employer-based coverage.

For a bill that was celebrated for being a historic, progressive step for all Americans when it was first passed, it has become a big lesson about the failure of central planning in solving large-scale, intractable social problems. Sold as something that would help the most people possible, ObamaCare has in fact created inefficiencies, raised our costs, eroded our freedom and injected unfairness into the healthcare system.

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