New Hardy Boys Mystery: 'The Secret of Obamacare Costs'
There have been a lot of revivals of the old Hardy Boys series of mysteries written for teen and pre teen young boys. But for my money, the originals were the best, The 3 dozen or so mysteries encompassed all the things that young boys loved to do; camp, fish, role play, and especially, outsmart adults.
If you are unfamiliar with the series, the books follow the exploits of brothers Frank and Joe Hardy as they solve convoluted mysteries that have perplexed adult policemen. My personal favorite is "The Short Wave Mystery" (revised) that found the junior sleuths in constant danger and had a thrilling finish.
The call for a new Hardy Boy mystery comes as we discover it is now impossible to figure out how much Obamacare is going to cost. There have been so many changes, delays, and alterations that nobody can figure out how much we'll be spending to implement it.
President Obama’s health care law has been delayed and changed so many times that the official budget scorekeepers can no longer keep track of what the law costs.
The changes, and the overall uncertainty regarding the price tag, are raising concerns about whether the law even has enough revenue coming in to pay for the program.
“Right now the savings that was projected to pay for all this spending is not being collected as originally projected," said Charles Blahous, of the Mercatus Center. He estimated the law will eventually cost $200 billion a year by 2020.
The unilateral changes to the law – and specifically delays of the requirement that certain employers provide health coverage to workers – are the subject of a recently announced lawsuit by House Speaker John Boehner.
But apart from that, the changes have caused problems for the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which typically keeps track of what laws cost. Joe Antos, of the American Enterprise Institute, noted the office has said they won’t do “new estimates” of the law anymore.
"Their ability to say this was a benefit to the federal budget is going to become more and more dubious as the years pass,” said Jim Capretta, of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
In the case of the employer mandate, the provision was delayed from 2014 until 2016 for employers with fewer than 100 workers. For larger companies, it was delayed by one year, and they were allowed to only have to cover 70 percent of their workers.
Further, individuals were given until April 15 to enroll in a health plan through the ObamaCare exchanges, and many will likely be able to skirt the law’s prescribed fine for going three months without insurance.
Antos said he thinks it would be "politically impossible for the IRS to come after those same people -- millions of people -- and say you owe us money because you didn't sign up in time to have insurance.”
The cost of just those two changes will likely cut into revenue.
It's easy to forget that Obamacare has a revenue stream as well as outlays. Any reduction in revenue is felt on the other side of the ledger as well.
Perhaps Frank and Joe can start by following the president's statement at the time the measure was being debated that the ACA would not add a dime to the deficit and would cost less than a trillion dollars over its first ten years. But they would quickly get lost in the blizzard of regulations - about 25,000 pages so far - that is supposed to manage this gargantuan law. The boys are going to need their best chums Biff and Chet to help them solve this mystery.
But even then, this might be the first instance of failure to solve the puzzle in the history of the series.