Hundreds of thousands may lose Obamacare coverage
The mess that is Obamacare just got a lot messier.
Apparently, the government is having a hard time verifying the eligibility for about 2 million Obamacare sign ups. That's 25% of those who signed up and a larger percentage of those who received subsidies. (Note: We still don't know how many Obamacare enrollees got subsidies.)
According to this New York Times article, many consumers are bewildered because they already supplied the documentation the government is asking for. And to top it off, when people trying to upload the documents on the healthcare.gov site, they are running into problems:
The government has a long list of documents that consumers can use to establish their eligibility. These include copies of birth certificates, Social Security cards, high school diplomas, driver’s licenses, pay stubs and voter registration cards.
“The law requires us to double- and triple-check this data,” said Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, so “we’re reaching out to consumers — via mail, email and phone calls — to encourage them to provide supporting documentation.”
Mara Youdelman, a lawyer at the National Health Law Program, an advocacy group for low-income people, said: “In some cases, consumers say they already sent the documents to the federal marketplace. They don’t understand why they are being asked to send them in again.”
Even though consumers have sent documents to Serco’s office in London, Ky., the government cannot always link the documents to applications for coverage filed months earlier. In addition, some consumers report persistent problems when they try to upload documents through HealthCare.gov.
For months, Republicans have asserted that the administration was lax in verifying the income and eligibility of people who applied for insurance subsidies.
The government enrolled people “before the systems were in place to accurately confirm eligibility,” said Representative Diane Black, Republican of Tennessee.
In some cases, the government told consumers that they had been found eligible for subsidized insurance and could enroll right away. But to keep the coverage, it said, they had to “send the marketplace more information” to verify their eligibility.
Representative Erik Paulsen, Republican of Minnesota, said “many Americans are going to find out that they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service because their premium tax credits were paid incorrectly.”
Representative Joseph Crowley, Democrat of New York, said such remarks showed the Republicans’ “unending zeal to undermine the Affordable Care Act.”
Yep, that's right, Joe. Informing consumers that they may owe thousands of dollars to the IRS because the government screwed up and gave them something they didn't desere is a GOP plot to "undermine the Affordable Care Act." Try again.
I imagine at some time in the near future when it becomes apparent that hundreds of thousands of people are going to lose coverage and have to pay back subsidies to the government that President Obama will simply wave his magic sceptor and forgive the debt while allowing people to keep their insurance. We musn't have all this turmoil and anger from his subjects. Better to give people illegal subsidies than get them mad at you by requiring them to pay it back.