Obamacare can't be fixed.
That's obvious now that the Obama administration has admitted it cannot implement a key component of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 on the schedule that President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers set.
In a nutshell, the administration could not figure out how to make sure that businesses with more than 50 full-time employees are providing a minimum level of health insurance. So the administration decided to violate the law by putting off the requirement until 2015, instead of next year.
Why? Because the administration couldn't come up with a workable, straightforward, timely and affordable way for companies to report whether they were complying with the law. The Treasury Department's inspector general reported in March that the administration hadn't come close to smoothly implementing the 40 provisions that amended or were added to the tax code — that largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years — that would help generate the $438 billion needed to help pay for health care reform.
Under the law, companies must report how much they are paying employees, the names of workers obtaining coverage, whether the coverage is a qualified plan offered by one of the new health insurance exchanges, the dates of the coverage, how much employees contribute to any company-supplied health insurance, how many hours employees work. And so forth.
The tip of the bureaucratic iceberg, that. Consider the regulation, "Interim Guidance on Informational Reporting to Employees of the Cost of Their Group Health Insurance Coverage." Translated, that means telling your employees how much their health insurance costs, to be reported on their W-2 forms. I counted 19 pages and 8,127 words of instructions on just that alone.
The administration finally conceded the realty of the monster it was creating in a weaselly blog post. Mark Mazur, assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, was assigned to take the heat for admitting that it was now "impractical" to meet the requirements until 2015.
Apparently, someone decided that the explanation needed the delicate touch of a White House personage, which generated even more guffaws. Valerie Jarrett, the most confident of President Obama's advisers, spent 394 words of hogwash on the White House blog explaining how "we're listening to businesses about the health care law." When she finally gets around to responding to the torrent of complaints about the complexity of the reporting requirements, she brags how "we are cutting the red tape and simplifying the reporting process." As if it was the administration's idea. Jarrett, an offspring of the "Chicago Way," must think Americans are willing to buy this fabrication, as if they all are as stupid as Chicago voters, who keep re-electing grafters, liars and Democrats.
Even more laughably, administration minions submit that Republicans have caused these problems by "trying to sabotage" Obamacare. As if Republicans conceived of and wrote the language of Obamacare. As if a GOP administration is growing an impenetrable rain forest of regulations to fruitlessly try to implement an unworkable law.
Even its most enthusiastic backers in California are crabbing. There a debate has erupted over whether pediatric dental care should be part of the Obamacare-created insurance exchange's basic health policy. The exchange wants to sell it on a stand-alone basis to parents, which riles children's health activists. The exchange is standing firm, giving activists a taste of the autocratic government-run health insurance system in our future.
What sabotaged Obamacare is clear as the day as it was unveiled and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said we had to enact it first to find out what's in it. As predicted, the law crippled itself with its mind-boggling complexities, hidden land mines, escalating costs and, finally, the staggering and delusional promises of the experts and politicians who hatched it.
In response, Democrats have adopted a "mend-it, don't-end-it" posture (sound familiar?), as if with a few tinkers and tweaks, Congress can tease out the problems. It's the same arrogance that compels simple minds to believe they can anticipate every possible pitfall and flaw. It's time for Obamacare backers to confess to some humility, dump this monstrosity and work with realists who want to do some actual good for the nation's health.