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Another day, another ObamaTax "glitch." This time, we're talking about 2 million kids who may not only lose their current coverage, but be left with no affordable alternative:
"One of Obamacare’s ongoing structural problems is preventing close to 2 million low-income children from getting affordable health coverage ... prevents children who would be eligible to participate in the Children’s Health Insurance Plan ... from getting access to their own subsidized coverage if the program is to end when it’s up for reauthorization this year."
We've blogged on the (infamous) SCHIP program before, but this is a new twist. It's up for re-authorization later this year, and there's a possibility that it will be shut down (much like the promising PCIP program). Should that happen, the kids currently covered under SCHIP would have few (if any) alternatives.
But Henry, they can just buy an ObamaPlan on the Exchange!
Um, maybe, maybe not. A couple of issues arise:
First, it's not entirely clear that losing such coverage would automatically trigger a Special Open Enrollment. The relevant definition says "losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP." Technically, though, the children aren't necessarily "losing eligibility," the plan is going away.
Look at it this way:
COBRA lets you keep your previous employers' health insurance for a while. But if that previous employer goes out of business, and the health plan goes away, then there's nothing to continue, and you're outta luck.
I think this falls in the same category: you didn't lose eligibility, the program went away. Now, given the reckless/feckless way this administration has implemented the ObamaTax, it's entirely likely that these kids will be issued waivers and granted Special Open Enrollment Periods.
Which would be nice, but that then brings us to the second issue:
Who's going to pay for that new ObamaPlan? As co-blogger Bob V explains it, "the health-care law doesn’t offer subsidies to workers whose employer offers what the federal government deems affordable coverage — but doesn’t consider whether employer coverage for workers’ families is affordable as well. The structure potentially bans spouses and children from receiving Obamacare’s much-touted help with premium payments while their available insurance is extremely costly."
But hey, we had to pass it to learn....
[Many Thanks to Bob V for his help in noodling this one through!]