The 2014 midterm election will hinge to some degree on just how rocky Obamacare implementation becomes during fiscal 2014. Today, we’re supposed to get a piece of this puzzle from California, which will announce the new rates and plans on its insurance exchange.
But it’s also important to note that already, three major insurers representing 7 percent of the individual market will not be participating in the new state exchange. That’s not a huge share, but it’s not negligible, either. If you see a major increase in individual market premiums, this reduction in competition will probably be part of the reason, as will the requirement that plans be fairly comprehensive and, for most people, include relatively low deductibles. At the moment, Esurance.com shows that a single 26-year-old man living in California can get:
- a bare-bones plan ($3,500 deductible) for as little as $82 per month, from Healthnet or a similar plan for $121 from Anthem.
- a zero-deductible plan from Kaiser Permanente with drug coverage ($40 co-pay for visits) for $336 per month.
If possible, I’ll circle back later and compare the new Obamacare rates to whatever comparable plans are offered.
Then there’s the IRS, which is obviously mired in controversy and will play a major role in implementing the health care law.
Now that “TIGTA” (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration”) is becoming a household name, its reports are getting more attention in contexts other than IRS harassment of conservative activists. The other day, the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard pointed to a June 2012 report that described the bureaucracy the IRS has assembled to implement Obamacare — eight different offices, with 1,278 full-time employees for fiscal 2012 and 859 for fiscal 2013. There were no projections for the coming fiscal year beginning in October, but fiscal 2014 will see 12 new IRS-related Obamacare provisions go into effect — twice as many as in any previous year.