Dec. 23, 2013
For Obamacare, 2013 can most certainly be deemed the year of the exemption. As this year comes to a close, let’s take a look at what is at stake starting January 1, 2014, and what groups have been exempted from the law.
Who Hasn’t Yet Received An Exemption from Obamacare?
Religious employers and businesses run from a faith perspective.
On January 1, 2014, the HHS mandate’s safe harbor for religious employers and businesses run from a faith perspective, like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Inc., will expire and employers will either be forced to violate their conscience and include sterilization services, drugs which can destroy a human embryo and contraception in their healthcare plan, pay fines of up to $100 per day per employee for not-complying, or dropping healthcare coverage for their employees altogether.
The start of the New Year will usher in the first time in this country’s history that the federal government would force individuals to purchase a product, to which they morally object. Forcing businesses to comply, or be fined, is no choice.
A new FRC/ADF poll found that more likely voters disapprove of the HHS mandate (59%) than disapprove of Obamacare in its entirety (54%). A just released CNN poll also found that 62% of Americans disapprove of the law, and including 60% of women.
Why are religious employers and individuals still waiting for an exemption while the Administration has unilaterally, without the approval of Congress, granted countless exemptions and concessions to other groups, in violation of their own signature law?
Who Has Received An Exemption from Obamacare?
Some of the exemptions granted are parts of the law supporters have deemed essential to its functioning.
- Obamacare’s employer mandate, which requires that employers with 50 or more employees provide healthcare coverage or pay a fine of $2,000 per employee per year, has been delayed by one year until 2015.
- Operation of the federal small business healthcare exchange (SHOP) has been delayed for a year, until November 2014.
- Healthcare plans which do not meet Obamacare’s new standards have been exempted, allowing individuals to keep their plans which the law deems uncompliant for a year.
- Those whose plans have been cancelled can qualify for a “hardship” exemption and apply for a catastrophic plan, or even forgo healthcare coverage for an entire year without penalty.
It was also just announced that the Administration has extended the deadline to sign up for health insurance on the federal healthcare exchange by another day, until Christmas Eve, in an effort to shore up higher enrollment numbers.
These numerous exemptions has even led Chuck Todd, an MSNBC correspondent, to recently say, “If you put together all the different ways that they have delayed or grandfathered certain things in … I’m starting to wonder if anybody is ever going to pay the penalty in the first year.”
The gaping holes in the Obamacare ship are expanding, yet the Administration remains insistent on making religious employers one of the only groups that must comply with this failing law.
Although the Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases challenging the HHS mandate on religious liberty grounds, Congress must act to protect individuals and businesses from the HHS mandate, if they morally object to providing these drugs and services to their employees. Forcing religious employers to choose between paying crippling fines, or dropping coverage for their employees and their families, is not good for the economy, the country and women. The HHS mandate is the next instance of how Obamacare could impact your life, your job, or your healthcare.
Let us hope that this New Year the HHS mandate is the next part of Obamacare that the Supreme Court will find unconstitutional.