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Obama DELETED His Website Telling People They Could Keep Their Health Plans
The Obama administration’s original government website promoting Obamacare has been deleted.
On the last day of the Obamacare enrollment period, uncovered records reveal the deleted website assured Americans they could keep their existing health insurance plans.
HealthReform.gov was the first major online messaging project of Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services. It was later replaced by the glitch-ridden Obamacare enrollment website Healthcare.gov.
But after Healthcare.gov went live, HealthReform.gov went dark.
Thankfully, the Internet’s “WayBack Machine” gives us a shot of HealthReform.gov’s final big screaming homepage: “Keeping the Health Plan You Have…The rule announced today preserves the ability of the American people to keep their current plan if they like it.”
￼ HealthReform website screenshot
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment on the deletion of HealthReform.gov.
White House Still Dodging IRS On Individual Mandate
Americans have to be prepared for an increased individual mandate tax to hit in just two weeks, but the White House still hasn’t gotten around to approving the Internal Revenue Service paperwork on the requirement.
The IRS is trying to comply with federal rules that require White House approval on its new paperwork for the individual mandate. But the White House has rejected one proposal and ignored another, according to new research from the American Action Forum, a free-market think tank headed by former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
The IRS’ workload was upped drastically by the individual mandate, which will require Americans to submit a tax form proving they have health insurance or pay a growing fine to the agency. It appears the Obama administration was running behind on the paperwork requirements as well as pretty much everything else.
The IRS submitted a proposal for collecting the individual mandate tax to the White House on Aug. 23, 2013, just four months before the individual mandate began to take effect. The agency requested approval by Aug. 26 — a unexpectedly quick turnaround for approval of any regulation, according to AAF.
Turns out, the White House didn’t approve the paperwork after all. AAF found that the White House rejected the proposal almost a year later — putting the three-day request to shame. It appears the White House preferred the individual mandate tax to be bundled with income tax collection, which the country goes through every spring.
But the IRS had already submitted a proposal to the White House for that purpose in April 2014, months before the White House rejected its year-old proposal. Right now, there’s no official IRS doctrine on how exactly the agency is supposed to be collecting the individual mandate penalty, or, as the administration calls it, the “shared responsibility payment.”
By collecting data from Americans about their health insurance status without approving the regulations, the White House could be violating the Paperwork Reduction Act, according to the study.
The administration already cut back on the number of Americans who would be subject to the individual mandate by issuing new exemptions, prompting the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation to lower their estimate of how much the tax will collect for the federal coffers. (RELATED: Just 13 Percent Of Uninsured To Pay Individual Mandate Fine Due To Mass Obamacare Exemptions)
And while the administration is promoting Obamacare exchanges by telling Americans they’re required to have health coverage or else, the enforcement of the mandate for those who didn’t get an exemption is probably going to turn out fairly lax in 2015.
“It’s surprising that for a law that passed in 2010, the individual mandate would not be finalized in 2014, the first year of implementation,” the report concludes. “The individual mandate is little more than a hollow legal shell, practically unenforced by the administration.”
“The individual mandate almost certainly won’t be part of the 2015 tax season” because the tax paperwork just isn’t ready, the report concluded.
The tax for going uninsured in 2014 was either $95 or 1 percent of annual income, which customers should have had to pay with the rest of their tax bill next April. On Jan. 1, just weeks away, that fee jumps to $325 or 2 percent of annual income, an even bigger bill.
Tax experts are already expecting the 2015 tax season to be the most complicated yet, as a result of Obamacare exchange estimating premium subsidies that could leave customers owing the federal government. Now ongoing uncertainty about those who didn’t get around to purchasing health insurance could add to the confusion.
By Washington Examiner| December 9, 2014 | 3:42 pm
MIT economist Jonathan Gruber testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, before the House…
Tuesday was a difficult day on Capitol Hill for the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction — the simple idea in logic that the same thing cannot be both true and untrue at the same time.
The occasion of this philosophical crisis was testimony to the House Oversight Committee by Obamacare architect and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber. Gruber, who was deeply involved in developing the Affordable Care Act, is now best known for praising its lack of transparency as “a political asset” and cheerfully attributing the law’s passage to “the stupidity of the American voter.”
But his problems in Tuesday’s hearing went far beyond unpopular opinions or bad word choices. Gruber also had to explain away very explicit and substantive, videotaped comments he had made about the healthcare law in academic forums.
He found even basic facts difficult to acknowledge. For four painful minutes of questioning, he refused to tell the committee how much money he had been paid for his work on Obamacare (it’s $6 million). He denied being an “architect” of the healthcare law — that is, someone who helped design it — which contradicts both journalistic reporting and his own public comments. (One example: In a January 2012 appearance, Gruber responded to one man’s question about Obamacare by stating, “That’s the exactly the kind of wonky detail that we spent a lot of time [on] in writing this law.”)
Gruber was pressed to explain away his explanation of how he, an economist and former member of the advisory board for the Congressional Budget Office, arranged that Obamacare would game the CBO scoring process to hide its tax increases. On tape, he found this easy: “If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies,” he had said. “So it’s written to do that.” He had also said that the bill was drafted in a “tortured” manner in order to get favorable CBO treatment.
In his testimony Tuesday, Gruber tried to dismiss his own earlier statements as having been “made in a tone of [political] expertise that I don’t have.” But Gruber had previously told the New York Times, “I know more about this law than any other economist.” If he knew more than anyone about the law, and he knew how and why he had to game the CBO scoring, this new explanation doesn’t wash.
Gruber had also made comments relevant to a Supreme Court case that will decide whether Obamacare allows subsidies for insurance customers in states that did not set up their own exchanges. Gruber had suggested many times that it does not.
But he claimed on Tuesday that he had only been speaking conditionally, in the event that the federal government failed to set up healthcare.gov. The thing is, no one who has heard his comments could possibly accept this explanation. For example, in a Jan. 10, 2012 lecture, Gruber criticized state governments that had not yet set up exchanges, and mused about consequences “when the voters in states see that by not setting up an exchange the politicians in their state are costing state residents hundreds of millions and billions of dollars.” He then added, “That is really the ultimate threat — will people understand that, gee, if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to be delivered to your citizens.”
In all of these cases and others, Gruber’s own words in the last few years are strong evidence that he knows how to tell the truth and indeed, in unguarded moments, does so naturally and forcefully. It’s too bad he forgot how to do that the moment he was sworn in by a congressional committee.
Citing Tom Hank’s character Forrest Gump, House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa asked MIT’s Jonathan Gruber if he was stupid during a contentious House committee hearing on Tuesday.
“Are you stupid?” Issa asked.
“I don’t think so. No,” Gruber replied.
“Does M.I.T. employ stupid people?” Issa asked.
“Not to my knowledge,” Gruber replied.
Issa was referring to earlier comments made by Rep. Elijah Cummings — accusing Gruber of saying “some really stupid things” about the legislative process to pass Obamacare.
“As far as I can tell we are here today to beat up on Jonathan Gruber for stupid, I mean absolutely stupid comments he made over the past few years,” Cummings said, criticizing the political nature of the hearing.
“Let me be clear, I’m extremely frustrated with Dr. Gruber’s statements,” Cummings added. “They were irresponsible, incredibly disrespectful, and did not reflect reality and they were, indeed, insulting.”
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