Obamacare’s choice: DHHS misleads Granite Staters
Obamacare’s rules are so labyrinthine and complex that the law appropriates $67 million to fund “navigators” — people hired to guide citizens through the process of obtaining insurance coverage on the “exchanges.” The law’s mind-boggling complexity is so great that the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services webpage designed to explain the basics of the law gets the most basic point of all wrong.
“As of January 1, 2014, most New Hampshire citizens will be required to have health coverage,” according to the official state “NH Medicaid and Federal Health Care Reform” page. That is incorrect.
The law does contain what is known as the “individual mandate,” but there is a critical caveat. Citizens can choose to pay a fine rather than buy insurance. In 2014 the fine is $95 or 1 percent of family income, whichever is greater. It rises to $325 or 2 percent of family income in 2015 and $695 or 2.5 percent of family income in 2016.
The optional fine is crucial to the very existence of Obamacare. Without this provision, the Supreme Court would have struck down the law as unconstitutional.
Chief Justice John Roberts, in his famous decision last year, wrote for the court majority that the federal government did not have the power under the Commerce Clause to compel people to buy health insurance. Rather, the court upheld the individual mandate because he was willing to “construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance.”
The Department of Health and Human Services needs to correct its website and accurately inform the citizens of the “Live free or die” state that they still have a choice, as dictatory and unAmerican as that choice may be.