WH proposes broadening eligibility for Obamacare subsidies, but at what cost?

WH proposes broadening eligibility for Obamacare subsidies, but at what cost?

Obamacare mintsWith more and more Americans receiving cancelation notices and/or experiencing sticker shock over the higher costs of their new coverage under Obamacare, the White House is searching desperately for a fix that will quell the angry masses. One solution they are exploring, according to The Hill, is widening the law’s so-called safety net, which captures those who qualify for federal subsides (h/t Weasel Zippers).

The proposed fix would expand the class of Americans eligible for premium tax credits when purchasing coverage on the new exchanges. At present, the credits are limited to people earning 133% to 400% of the federal poverty line.

The administrative fix under consideration would widen the eligibility to incomes above the 400% level. The administration has not indicated what the new cutoff would be, but the proposal would inevitably raise the overall cost of the Affordable Care Act.

The likelihood of getting the entrenched Republican-controlled House to agree to a measure to finance the added costs is nil. And although Obama already overstepped his authority once by issuing executive order to delay the employer mandate, he can’t use executive authority to add a new tax.

Obama may have been hinting at the proposed fix when told Chuck Todd of NBC News, “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that [people] know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”


LU Staff

LU Staff

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