Obamacare tax credits: Unleash the power of the private sector


WASHINGTON, November 17, 2014 — Ever vigilant in their quest, opponents of Obamacare seem bound and determined to use any means necessary to destroy the landmark healthcare reform legislation. With King v. Burwell expected to be argued before the Supreme Court in March, 2015, those in the individual market who rely on tax credits to help make health insurance affordable may find they are no longer eligible for government assistance.

Relying on the technical wording of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, supporters of King v. Burwell argue only those purchasing health insurance through a State health insurance exchange are eligible for tax credits. Given that 36 out of 50 States have not created their own exchanges, millions of Americans could discover they are not eligible for the tax credits they need to help pay for their healthcare.

Despite the reality that alternatives to Obamacare would probably include tax credits without the safeties to ensure providers cannot simply raise premiums on the sick or sell junk insurance, opponents would rather destroy the Affordable Care Act than improve upon it. Most ironic, however, is that those fighting Obamacare are those who typically fight for business and increased free market competition.

Should the Supreme Court decide tax credits can only be used by the few who come from a State that bothered to set up its own exchange, consumers will be hurt when they can no longer afford coverage. Not only will millions of Americans lose future access to tax credits, which means the so-called individual mandate will become a poison pill that Republicans can use to cram their healthcare reforms down the throats of Americans, they may well end up having to pay back the tax credits they already received. If not, health insurance providers will have to eat the loss or sue their newest customers.

At the same time, access to tax credits for the State Exchanges undermines consumer choice. Where healthcare.gov had a rough start, to say the least, the few State exchanges that do exist certainly have their own share of issues. Without alternatives to help push standards higher, those looking for health insurance are stuck with problems that might arise in any given exchange. As such, those “free market” opponents of Obamacare, who love consumer choice, are actually fighting to restrict consumer choice by trying to limit who and how consumers can use tax credits to purchase health insurance.

Furthermore, the function of healthcare.gov is, essentially, to help consumers find coverage online, yet it is not a thoroughly new concept. Private companies like eTeleQuote have for years served as a “marketplace” for those looking to buy health insurance online. Given eTeleQuote has already developed complimentary services to Medicare in order to help users find supplementary plans to cover what Medicare does not through their Medigap plans, for example, the private industry could easily rival the federal and State exchanges, if their customers can use tax credits.

Moreover, opponents of Obamacare seeking to limit accessibility to tax credits are inhibiting private industry from competing against a government service, which they feel the government should not be providing. Their stringent opposition to Obamacare is actually preventing the private sector from seizing upon the new opportunities that are arising due to necessary changes in the healthcare system. Instead of sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, opponents need to use the basic infrastructure Obamacare created and unleash the power of the private industry to engineer a better healthcare system for all Americans.

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My name is Matthew Justin Geiger; I currently hold a BS in physics and psychology based politics from Allegheny College of Meadville, Pennsylvania. I am the creator/manager/editor of ​The Washington Outsider. I am a freelance writer, political analyst, commentator, and scientist presenting my views through news sites like The Washington Outsider, Communities Digital News (CDN) and Examiner.com. I also host the shows "The Washington Outsider" and "FocusNC" on local news station startup NCTV45 in New Castle, PA. In addition, I have written a short story collection, “​Dreaming of​ Other Realities,” two novellas “​Alien Assimilation” and “​The Survivor,” and a poetry collection, “​A Candle Shrouded in Darkness” available on ​Amazon. My goals are to offer my opinions and skills to those who are in need of an honest, professional consultant or freelance writer.
  • RichardU

    At least you recognize how poisonous the individual mandate can be. Now, if only you could recognize most of the opposition has been fueled by the individual mandate, and that King, Halbig, etc. wouldn’t have gone anywhere without the individual mandate (businesses were found to lack standing, so merits were only reached because of individuals being harmed by the individual mandate).

    I hope every politician will always remember the heavy cost of trying to force people to buy anything, even something incredibly good like health insurance, as a result of Obamacare. May we never see such a stupid and elitist policy as the individual mandate again.

    • Matthew J. Geiger

      Sorry about taking so long to check the comments on this article; I was just too busy. I’ve always been against the individual mandate and I know the American People don’t like it, but I don’t believe that is why “conservatives” are using it to fight Obamacare. Under a Republican President, I think the individual mandate may have been the first step to reform while President Obama would have excluded it if he had not been trying to include all the players in the process at the beginning.

      • RichardU

        I disagree. The individual mandate is a new and very different kind of power that causes a feeling the government is directly, rather than the normal indirect means, attacking our personal freedom and forcing us to act on its behalf. Nothing else is really new in kind, just scope.

        Conservatives would certainly have opposed passing Obamacare, but without the individual mandate all signs seem to suggest Democratic predictions would have played out and Obamacare would be more and more popular every year. You can see opposition to Medicaid expansion is hard to maintain, and almost impossible to envision lasting much beyond the last credible legal threat to Obamacare’s long-term survival.

        And there is no evidence to suggest a Republican president would have included an individual mandate. The closest I can envision would be trying to get states to adopt their own individual mandates. Really, Democrats should have done that since it would have allowed more effective/coercive mandates while greatly reducing the chances of continuing resistance to the overall law.

        • Matthew J. Geiger

          As for States adopting an individual mandate, I don’t like that idea either. Unless the government is going to provide some support of basic healthcare plan, which can be supplemented by private insurance, legislating individuals, whether they can afford it or not, buy the products of private businesses, especially when there is a lack of choice in not using that product and competition in many regional markets, is an overreach of government.

  • Joker Davis

    I wonder how many people will have their identities stolen when the Obamacare website is hacked?

  • Sturmvogel

    Read some Goebbels to polish your style, and you need to make up “facts” to make it believable.

    • Matthew J. Geiger

      Obama would have excluded it if he had not been trying to include all the players in the process at the beginning. Well, I could do that or we could both recognize there is noone solution to fixing faults in the American healthcare system. When at the bargaining table with powerful corporations, the American People need all the leverage they can get to ensure their interests, i.e. quality and affordable healthcare coverage, are being addressed. Giving consumers who often lack true choice additional options will help give them a little extra help in finding better prices.