ObamaCare remains in the news with two items.
First, the Affordable Care Act is anything but:
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration adopted a strict definition of affordable health insurance on Wednesday that will deny federal financial assistance to millions of Americans with modest incomes who cannot afford family coverage offered by employers.
In deciding whether an employer's health plan is affordable, the Internal Revenue Service said it would look at the cost of coverage only for an individual employee, not for a family. Family coverage might be prohibitively expensive, but federal subsidies would not be available to help buy insurance for children in the family.
The policy decision came in a final regulation interpreting ambiguous language in the 2010 health care law.
Ooopos! We had Boldly Predicted that Team Obama would go with the budget-busting "fix" of expanding the elibibility for subsidies. I guess not.
And Team Obama continues to retreat in its war on organized religion:
Obama administration changes contraception rules
By: Donovan Slack and Jennifer Haberkorn
February 1, 2013 11:28 AM EST
For the second time in a year, the Obama administration has backtracked on its requirement to make religious institutions pay for contraception.
A new policy announced Friday further expanded the exemption to Obamacare: Women will still be able to get the same health benefits, but certain religious employers won’t have to pay for them. Instead, institutions that insure themselves can use a third-party to find a separate health insurance plan to pay for and provide the contraceptives.
Bitter-Clinger leaders were non-committal:
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was non-committal about the new policy.
“We welcome the opportunity to study the proposed regulations closely,” Dolan said in a statement. “We look forward to issuing a more detailed statement later.”
The Catholic Church has survived for two thousand years; they will survive Obama.
I'LL TELL YOU WHO WILL BE SHOCKED...
Kevin Drum delivers some misdirected snark:
Conservatives Shocked to Discover Healthcare in America is Really Expensive
"Can you respond to this?" asks a reader via Twitter. "Conservative friends are posting it all over." It turns out that "this" is a headline from CNS:
IRS: Cheapest Obamacare Plan Will Be $20,000 Per Family
Apparently conservatives are outraged by this, but I have one question for them: just how much do you think healthcare coverage costs? Do you have any clue at all?
Well, I would have guessed about $15,000, but that is only becasue I have been following this question of affordability and subsidies. But guess who may not have been following it?
The average cost of healthcare coverage for a family is currently about $16,000, and by 2015 (the base year for the IRS examples) that will probably be around $18,000 or so. And that's for employer-sponsored plans. Individual plans are generally steeper, so $20,000 isn't a bad guess. It might be a little high, but not by much. And the family in question will, of course, be eligible for generous subsidies that bring this cost down substantially, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. They won't actually pay $20,000 per year.
Maybe they will be eligible, maybe they won't. With ObamaCare, getting married will be a luxury only the rich can afford.