Millions Can Dodge ObamaCare Mandate: WSJ

Exemption was hidden in last week's announcement, newspaper says

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 12, 2014 4:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – Few noticed last week, but the White House just gave millions of Americans a two-year reprieve from having to buy health care—at least according to the Wall Street Journal. Buried in a seven-page bulletin, the Obama administration granted an exemption for anyone whose insurance was canceled and who says (without proof) that it was a "hardship" getting health insurance, or health-care plans were too pricey. Such an exemption from the ObamaCare mandate was only scheduled to last a year, but will now last two, the Journal explains.

The newspaper criticizes President Obama for the change, noting that "hardship" has gone from meaning the "truly down and out" to anyone short of cash, while the mandate got sidelined over "the implementation fiasco and politics." But is the Journal getting upset over a technicality? Kathleen Sebelius' testimony today at the House Ways and Means Committee may say as much: Asked whether the March 31 enrollment deadline and the individual mandate will be delayed, she said simply, "No, sir," the Hill reports. She added that health-insurance prices will probably keep rising, but not as much as they have been, the Daily Mail reports.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defends President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, as she answers questions from Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee during its review of President Obama’s budget requests, Wednesday, March 12, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defends President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, as she answers questions from Republican members of the House Ways and Means...   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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