One of the great mysteries of the GOP is why, during the last four years of the Obama Administration, while they were running on the “repeal and replacement” of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), that the Congressional Republicans did not actually formulate “ready-to-go” legislation that would accomplish what they promised?
We are seeing a great reluctance among Congress and the President to actually implement the comprehensive reform of healthcare …
One, because healthcare truly is a large and complex issue that must balance the competing interests of the stakeholders: the people actually being affected, the special interests that fund political campaigns and provide voter support, and the politicians themselves who appear to be afraid of making changes knowing full well they “own” the outcome and will be held accountable in the 2018 congressional election cycle.
And two, because the legislators must continue the mandate to fund whatever system they impose. No matter if it is called a subsidy or a “tax credit,” poorer individuals and families will receive government assistance and wealthier individuals and families pick up the burden.
Almost all legislators, with the exception of the radicals who demand a single-payer system, agree that any legislation must enforce the coverage mandate as well as honor previously existing conditions.
What Trump signed …
MINIMIZING THE ECONOMIC BURDEN OF THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PENDING REPEAL
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. It is the policy of my Administration to seek the prompt repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended (the "Act"). In the meantime, pending such repeal, it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented, take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.
Sec. 2. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies (agencies) with authorities and responsibilities under the Act shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.
Sec. 3. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies with authorities and responsibilities under the Act, shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to provide greater flexibility to States and cooperate with them in implementing healthcare programs.
Sec. 4. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the head of each department or agency with responsibilities relating to healthcare or health insurance shall encourage the development of a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of healthcare services and health insurance, with the goal of achieving and preserving maximum options for patients and consumers.
Sec. 5. To the extent that carrying out the directives in this order would require revision of regulations issued through notice-and-comment rulemaking, the heads of agencies shall comply with the Administrative Procedure Act and other applicable statutes in considering or promulgating such regulatory revisions.
Sec. 6. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
The IRS response is relaxed enforcement – or is it?
Obamacare’s individual mandate requires all individuals to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known euphemistically as the "shared responsibility payment." Leave it to the progressive socialist democrats to share the misery by suggesting that it is your responsibility to participate in their wealth redistribution schemes. Under this mandate, you are required to indicate (Form 1040, Line 61) whether you maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the required penalty. Filers could also use Form 8965 (Health Coverage Exemptions) to claim an exemption.
It was previously understood that the IRS would not accept “silent 1040 returns” in 2016 unless the coverage box was checked, the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption Form 8965 was attached. Otherwise they would be labeled "silent returns" and rejected. If your return was not accepted, you also delayed any refund you may have due.
Now, we find that the IRS has relaxed the enforcement of the mandate and will accept silent 1040 returns and process refunds, but it is unclear at this point in time what might happen to taxpayers under those conditions.
Bottom line …
Some, especially those in the Trump Administration are hailing this alleged weakening of the mandate as a great victory. But, this looks and smells like a public relations ploy because YOU are still required to meet the terms and conditions of the Affordable Care Act and pay any outstanding amounts and penalties. Trump’s Executive Order is meaningless to individuals as only Congress, through legislation, can unwind the individual mandate and any payments owed to the federal government.
Perception is reality and unfortunately we find the GOP mirroring the actions of the progressive socialist democrats in order to reduce the blame and shame that comes with attention from the mainstream media.
It is unrealistic to believe that the hyper-politicized IRS is cooperating with the Trump Administration. Perhaps they are playing along until they notify taxpayers of their obligations and create a ruckus in the future when they call for individuals to pay the piper.
We are so screwed.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius