White House 'Quietly' Exempts 4.5 Million People In 5 "Territories" From Obamacare

Tyler Durden's picture

As WSJ reports, last week's geopolitical chaos and distraction was ideal for a news dump, and the White House didn't disappoint: On no legal basis, all 4.5 million residents of the five U.S. territories were quietly released from ObamaCare. It seems the costs of healthcare soared in these five territories due to uneconomic mandates - which woul dhave been a disaster PR-wise for the administration and so, under cover of catastrophe, WSJ reports all of a sudden last week HHS discovered new powers after "a careful review of this situation and the relevant statutory language," that enabled them to 'selectively exempt' American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, and Virgin Islands from Obamacare. And all while vacationing...

As WSJ reports,

The original House and Senate bills that became the Affordable Care Act included funding for insurance exchanges in these territories, as President Obama promised when as a Senator he campaigned in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other 2008 Democratic primaries. But the $14.5 billion in subsidies for the territories were dumped in 2010 as ballast when Democrats needed to claim the law reduced the deficit.

 

As a consolation, Democrats opened several public-health programs to the territories and bestowed most of ObamaCare's insurance regulations, which liberals euphemize as "consumer protections," such as requiring insurers to accept all comers and charge the same premiums regardless of patient health.

However, costs soared as no insurer would touch them...

These uneconomic mandates promptly caused insurance rates to soar and many insurers to flee the territorial markets. You can't buy any policy at any price in the Mariana Islands. So the territories have spent the last two years beseeching HHS for a regulatory exemption.

So time to change the rules... from this...

As recently as last year, HHS instructed the territories that they "have enjoyed the benefits of the applicable consumer protections" and HHS "has no legal authority to exclude the territories" from ObamaCare.

To this...

Laws are made by Congress, but all of a sudden last week HHS discovered new powers after "a careful review of this situation and the relevant statutory language."

And thus 4.5 million people in the following 5 territories are now free of the tyrannical demands of Obamacare...

American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, and Virgin Islands.

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Which leaves only one question... where does everybody else apply for their 'uneconomic' exemption?