The NY Times outs another "bad apple" insurance plan offering sub-standard benefits:
Vista Workers Told Their U.S. Health Plan Fails Test
By Robert Pear
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has told Vista volunteers and other AmeriCorps workers that their government-provided health coverage does not measure up to the standards of the new health care law, and that they may be subject to financial penalties unless they obtain insurance elsewhere.
Mary Strasser, the director of AmeriCorps’ Vista program, described the changes in a bulletin to members on Dec. 16.
The coverage provided by the agency — the AmeriCorps Health Care Benefits Plan — “does not satisfy the individual responsibility requirement of the Affordable Care Act,” which takes effect on Jan. 1, Ms. Strasser said. Accordingly, she said, Vista members may be required to pay a tax penalty if they do not have other coverage and do not receive an exemption.
Vista is a JFK Peace Corps legacy program, so double-ouch. The Times offers a failed metaphor:
Abby Grosslein, a Vista member in New Orleans, said she thought it was strange that the health benefits provided by a federal agency did not meet the standards of a law adopted more than three and a half years ago. “It would be nice if the government waived the penalty because we are a federally funded program,” said Ms. Grosslein, 24, who is completing her third year of service with AmeriCorps. “It’s as if the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.”
Well, its as if the left hand doesn't know what the far left hand is doing. In fact, we will probably soon learn that Obama has just found out about this by dint of reading the papers:
Vista, or Volunteers in Service to America, was proposed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, authorized by Congress in 1964 and folded into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993. Its members work in education, housing, jobs and social service programs.
President Obama — a onetime community organizer — is a big supporter, and he has called public service “a central cause” of his administration. In March, the White House said that “AmeriCorps may be one of America’s best assets,” transforming communities every day.
Delay the mandate!