Obamacare is the best thing for everybody. Right? I mean, isn’t that what Democrats keep saying? So, why did Obama just take Obamacare away from all our protectorates and territories? Well, the answer to that is because Obamacare doesn’t work, that’s why.
When Obama first strongarmed his law through Congress in the dead of night with not a single supporting vote from the minority party (the first time this ever happened with a major piece of legislation) he said it was the answer to all our healthcare woes. Obamacare is what is best for everyone, he and his cohorts proclaimed.
Originally, when Obamacare was passed it was imposed on all the US territories and protectorates, too. But now the territories–Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands–have gotten one of Obama’s famous (and quiet) waivers.
Why did the territories want to get out from under his oppressive, ruinous takeover of our healthcare system? Because it was a disastrous failure in the territories and the governments there pleaded to be let out of the bad deal.
The Affordable Care Act’s design dealt a pretty big problem to the territories. It required insurers there to comply with the law’s major market reforms–guaranteed coverage, mandated benefits, limits on profits, etc.–without requiring residents to get coverage or providing subsidies to help afford coverage. The territories–Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands–have been warning for years that would destroy their insurance markets. The individual mandate and the subsidies are the major ways the ACA tries to bring healthy people into the individual insurance market to balance out sick patients who can no longer be denied coverage.
Now, Obama has said that the territories don’t have to comply. He’s given them one of his famous “waivers.”
In fact, this is a reversal of Obama’s initial claim that the territories would be forced into Obamacare no matter what.
Last year, Gary Cohen, then the head of the HHS office overseeing Obamacare’s insurance market reforms, told the territories that it was just to darn bad if they wanted out of the disastrous law. “However meritorious your request might be, HHS is not authorized to choose which provisions…might apply to the territories,” he said.
But now, all of a sudden, Obama’s HHS has dropped the requirement that the territories be forced into Obamacare.
So, if Obamacare is so great, why has he quietly given the territories this waiver and let them out of the raw deal?