Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Running out the clock

Is it possible that the "Repeal" part of "Repeal & Replace" is becoming moot?

Certainly recent events seem to support the theory (which I just made up):

Exhibit A: Yesterday, we learned that the proposed merger of Aetna and Humana was officially declared null-and-void by the parties themselves. Since they were both apparently counting on the increased market share (and, presumably, decreased operating expenses) of one massive carrier, it's not unlikely that this was a mortal wound.

Exhibit B: Following close on the heals of the merger meltdown, Humana has announced that it "plans to pull out of Obamacare exchanges in 2018."

Now, the article seems to conflate pulling out of Exchanges with pulling out of the individual medical market altogether (which doesn't appear to be the case). Still, when most US counties now have (at most)) 2 carriers vying for business, that hoary old promise that "you can keep your plan" seems even more quaint.

Exhibit C: The fear of paying The ObamaTax is one of the most compelling reasons (and, for many folks, the only reason) to even consider buying an ObamaPlan. Now it appears that there's even less bark in that dog:

"How much difference does a single line on a tax form make? For Obamacare's individual mandate, the answer might be quite a lot."

To wit: the IRS is now saying that completing Line 61 (attesting that one had, in fact, been covered by an ACA-compliant plan the previous year) is now optional. This is a major step towards effectively repealing the individual mandate, which is, in turn, a linchpin to the whole ObamaCare regime itself.

Tick, tock...
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