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NYT: Deadline Could Be Extended To End Of Year

Some grudging admissions from the New York Times:

Repercussions and Reprieves at Health Insurance Enrollment Deadline

By ROBERT PEAR | March 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — America’s health insurance marketplace closes on Monday night, the deadline for most people to obtain coverage or face a penalty.

Even this lead sentence is not true. Anyone can claim a hardship in dealing with the website and get an extension since there is no proof required. As the article goes on to say later.

The confusion and uncertainty of the last six months appear likely to continue as consumers, including some who have never had insurance, begin using new policies for the first time. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Very few of the people signing up for Obama-Care have never had insurance before. Probably fewer than 700,000. Which was supposed to be why Obama-Care was so urgent and necessary.

Q. What happens if a consumer does not sign up for insurance by the Monday deadline?

A. The consumer may be subject to financial penalties, to be paid with federal income taxes next year. However, the federal government has said it will stretch the sign-up deadline for people who started an application and could not finish it for one reason or another.

We will learn at the bottom of this piece that the deadline could be stretched to the end of the year.

To preserve their rights, consumers can call the federal insurance marketplace (1-800-318-2596) and request a “special enrollment period.”

"To preserve their rights"? Isn’t it a little late for that?

Officials running the federal marketplace, which serves 36 states, will provide an unspecified amount of extra time to people who are “in line as of March 31,” and some states running their own exchanges have adopted similar policies.

In addition, the White House says, consumers may be able to obtain more time if they attest that they have had difficulty signing up — if, for example, they encountered error messages or “other system errors.” Officials will not generally investigate such claims, but they note that the application for health coverage is submitted under penalty of perjury.

The NYT and the rest of the MSM, apart from the WSJ ignored these changes when they came out a couple of weeks ago. And then they played them down. Why is that? (If you have to ask, you are not cynical enough.)

Q. What is the penalty for going without insurance?

A. The penalty is either a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of household income, whichever is greater. The flat dollar amount this year is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to a maximum of $285 for a family…

This is another misleading trope. No one with an income of $9,500 even has to file for income taxes. (Unless they want a whopping ‘earned income’ credit.) And they would automatically be qualified for Medicaid, anyway.

It is unclear how aggressive the government will be in enforcing the requirement to have insurance and in collecting the penalty. If a consumer fails to pay the penalty at tax time, the Internal Revenue Service can deduct it from any refund owed to the taxpayer, but it cannot impose a lien on property or garnish wages. Under the health care law, the consumer “shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution” for the failure.

Don’t worry. Anyone who fits the profile of a Republican will be fined. Anyone who fits the profile of a Democrat won’t.

Q. Who is exempt?

A. The health care law authorizes many kinds of exemptions, and the Obama administration has added a few.

But we thought the ‘Law Of The Land’ could not be changed?

Under the law, no penalties can be imposed on people who would have to pay more than 8 percent of their household income for the lowest-priced insurance available to them.

Once gain, the oft-cited $95 penalty is a PR stunt.

The requirement for people to have coverage does not apply to members of certain religious sects who are “conscientiously opposed to acceptance” of health insurance benefits.

Such as Muslims? Oh, that’s right. We’ve been told by the ‘fact checkers’ that this is a myth. And never mind that Muslims consider insurance to be a form of gambling and therefore forbid it.

Nor does it apply to members of organizations known as health care sharing ministries, which provide a faith-based alternative to traditional insurance.

So quick, go start a ‘church.’

Prisoners and illegal immigrants are also exempt, and no penalties can be imposed on members of federally recognized Indian tribes.

So quick, ‘go Elizabeth Warren.’

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, has authorized “hardship exemptions” for people in more than a dozen categories. These include people who are homeless or facing eviction or foreclosure; victims of domestic violence; and victims of fires, floods and other disasters.

So quick, get in a fight with your spouse.

In addition, people are entitled to exemptions if they were found ineligible for Medicaid solely because they live in a state that decided not to expand the program. ..

So these people should thank their Republican governors.

Exemptions are also available to people who face the cancellation of individual health insurance policies and consider the alternatives unaffordable.

Which could include all of us, actually.

Finally, the administration has created an open-ended category of exemption for people who experience other, unspecified hardships in obtaining insurance…

But our media guardians told us that this was a myth just a couple of weeks ago.

Q. What should people do if they applied for insurance but never received an insurance card?

A. They should call the insurance company or the toll-free number for the federal insurance marketplace. The government has caseworkers to help consumers, but it could take weeks or months to solve some problems.

Especially, since the ‘back end’ of Obama-Care still has not been created. Even though that is where you actually buy the insurance. And even though that was supposed to be the whole point of the exchanges in the first place.

Q. What changes or delays might be expected in the coming year?

A. The experience of the last four years strongly suggests that there will be more surprises. Federal officials will almost surely make changes to rules and policy as they discover problems and respond to political pressure and pleas from consumers in this election year…

Uh huh.

The government and insurers could be dealing with a substantial backlog of work because of the last-minute surge in applications. Officials have said they may allow special enrollment periods for other reasons. With all the exceptions and adjustments, an insurance executive said, “open enrollment could go on for the rest of the year.” …

Look how far down the NYT buries this gem. And never mind this means the end of any real deadline. Which means you can wait until you need insurance before signing up. Which should really wreak havoc on the insurance industry.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, March 31st, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “NYT: Deadline Could Be Extended To End Of Year”

  1. Petronius

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott

  2. captstubby

    The Law Of The Land.
    Obamacare by any other name…

    “The main method of food supply in Moscow, from 1918 until 1922, was the rationing system, under which grain and other agricultural products requisitioned from the peasantry were centralized by the food supply commissariat and distributed to the Red army and the urban population. There were fierce disputes over how rationing should be organized, which amounted, essentially, to competitions between different types of inequality.
    Under the rationing system introduced in 1918, more food was supposed to go to soldiers at the front, those doing heavy physical work and other priority groups. Industrial workers were prioritized over siuzhashchie. But special rations and exemptions were introduced endlessly, and then attempts made to redress the inequalities created. Rations were distributed late or not at all, and then efforts made to ensure that priority groups received what they were due more reliably. In 1919, an additional ‘labour ration’ was introduced for factory workers; then factories of ‘special importance’ were upgraded to military ration status; then the principle of ‘reserved’ (bronnir-ovannye) rations was introduced, under which the food supply authorities were supposed to ensure that those thus designated received their rations no matter what; then came an academic ration, a special ration for Red army men’s families, and so on. Corruption, and trade in fake ration cards, was rife. An early manifestation of Soviet state officials’ privilege was corrupt access to extra rations, which fuelled working-class resentment and demands for ‘equalization of rations’.
    In April 1920, the Sovnarkora established another new ‘unified’ ration system with three categories. But the pressure to make exceptions was as strong as ever: the decree stated that workers in ‘enterprises of special state importance’, those who worked long shifts and ‘persons doing specially qualified mental labour’ would have special norms. Implementation of the decree was postponed until September, and by that time, differentials had been exacerbated by new trends in industrial administration, principally the use of bonuses in kind as productivity incentives, and the ‘shock working’ system (udarnichestvo), under which factories denominated as ‘shock’ (udarnyi) were entitled to priority supplies. Rations were supplemented by food acquired directly from the countryside, either on the black market, which thrived in spite of blockade detachments patrolling the railways, or on procurement trips, made by individual workers under an important exemption from the ban on trade that allowed them to go into the countryside and purchase 1.5 puds (24.6 kilos) of grain each, or by workplace collectives organized by factory committees.
    Even when centrally and locally procured food supplies were added together, there was simply not enough food arriving in Moscow.
    Compulsory labour mobilization had been introduced in some industries in 1919, and adopted as a general principle in January 1920. But it had largely failed either to ensure that workers with necessary skills went to the factories where they were most needed, or to contain the more general problem of chronic absenteeism – much of which was caused by workers spending time procuring food supplies.
    Absenteeism, and the use of factory resources to make goods to trade with peasants, were widespread. Labour commissariat statisticians estimated that in 1920 the average Moscow worker lost 71.2 working days due to absences, and broke these down as 15 days ‘business trips and organizational work’, 11 ‘additional days off’, 20 days sickness and 25.4 days absence without excuse (proguiy).
    The labour market became completely distorted, particularly in the metalworking industry, where the whip hand was held not by the government, with its draconian slogans of labour compulsion, but by workers whose skills were in short supply. In response, managers competed feverishly for the ‘shock’ label and for better bonuses in kind. The number of ‘shock’ enterprises proliferated, and the concept was devalued. In the second half of 1920 the number of ‘shock’ metal plants rose 12-fold from 20 to 240, and by the end of the year there were 1716 ‘shock’ enterprises all together. In Moscow, chemical and textile factories, along with metallurgical ones, were labelled ‘shock’. A speaker at the 4th trade union congress in May 1921 said there were more ‘shock’ enterprises than ‘non-shock’ ones. Along with the ‘shock’ system, the payment of bonuses in kind mushroomed; the union leaders fought an inter-institutional battle with industrial managers, soviets and the food supply commissariat for the right to administer the bonuses, and in June 1920 the all-Russian trade union council (VTsSPS) was given control of them.
    There’s no way anyone on the Moscow hunger ration [i.e. the regular non-‘shock’ ration] will meet targets.
    There was widespread concern among workers that inequalities in the rationing system worked in favour of party officials and the embryonic ruling elite – and this inspired the demand for equalization of rations , i.e. that all urban wage-eamers should receive the same.
    There is a desire among workers to destroy all extra rations for responsible officials, and [the strikers] propose to ask the Moscow soviet and the Moscow council of the economy [MSNKh] urgently to put an end to all existing inequalities. They proceed from the consideration that in a working people’s republic, every worker and member of office staff should receive a ration, but only a working person’s ration.”

    The Russian Revolution in Retreat, 1920-24

    Soviet workers and the new communist elite

    Simon Pirani


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