The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

No Surprise Here

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact

“Obamacare Applications As Tricky As Your Taxes?” screams one of the many headlines from an AP report printed in newspapers across the country.   The article states the draft application for getting insurance via Obamacare from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was “quietly posted online…seeking feedback from industry and consumer groups.  Those materials, along with a recent HHS presentation to insurers, run counter to the vision of simplicity promoted by administration officials.” The application for Obamacare for a family is 20 pages in length.  Here is a link to the AP report that I found printed in the Huffington Post.  (It’s kind of fun to read the comments section.) The AP states “the idea that getting health insurance could be as easy as shopping online at Amazon or Travelocity is starting to look like wishful thinking.”  It goes on to say that at “least three major federal agencies, including the IRS, will scrutinize your application.  Checking your identity, income and citizenship is supposed to happen in real time, if you apply online.”  Wanna bet?  Anyone?  Anyone? AP observes that the application “is just the first part of the process, which lets you know if you qualify for financial help.  The government asks to see what you're making because Obama's Affordable Care Act is means-tested, with lower-income people getting the most generous help to pay premiums.” Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an organization that promoted Obamacare and demanded its passage said, "This lengthy draft application will take a considerable amount of time to fill out and will be difficult for many people to be able to complete.”  He notes that, “It does not get you to the selection of a plan."  When one combines this application with the selection of a plan, “it is enormously time consuming and complex."  Pollack calls for a much simpler plan and an army of counselors to help the uninsured figure it all out.  Can you say, “Cha-ching, cha-ching? Regarding the means-testing and those tax-funded credits and subsidies to help pay for premiums, keep in mind they will be available to individuals and families with an income up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.  For a family of four, the 400 percent of federal poverty level is $94,200.  The IRS is going to have to be notified of any changes in income in order to assure the correct government financial assistance is doled out, or not. Remember, citizens will either have to buy the insurance or pay a fine (tax.)  However, the IRS by law can’t track you down if you refuse to pay your fine or buy insurance.  An earlier Forbes article states, “there is the issue of whether the IRS can collect the tax if someone refuses to either buy insurance or pay the fine.  The ACA says the IRS should enforce the law by imposing a tax penalty—but then effectively blocks the agency from using most of the tools it normally uses to go after tax scofflaws.” Well, at least for now anyway, until Obamacare begins to implode and some future Congress changes things. You cannot simply find the link to the draft applications for Obamacare on the HHS website.  Fortunately the Huffington Post article provided a link to it.  Just click on the CMS zipfile and you will see several files, including draft applications.  The draft application asks several questions of each person in the household…age, income, where you work, ethnicity, whether a U.S. citizen, full time student, whether in foster care and so on.  This lengthy application form is just another indication that in true big government fashion a bureaucratic nightmare is well on its way to being developed in order to deliver Obamacare to the masses.  No surprise here. Silence Dogood

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