Once again HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made an appearance on Capitol Hill at a Congressional hearing. I’ve seen her so frequently that I feel that I should be allowed to call her Kathy or, perhaps, Kit Kat. She looked very stressed as she explained that she has asked her agency’s Inspector General to conduct an investigation into the outside IT vendors to determine if there was malfeasance in the way they performed their duties.
Hmmm. Good timing. Due diligence would suggest that the time to perform an investigation into a contractor’s background is before rather than after you’ve committed to spend $600 million with them. But then due diligence would also suggest that you put a major contract out for competitive bidding and avoid giving business to a college chum who happens to have gone to school with the First Lady. It’s called propriety. Notwithstanding, government via the DOD has still figured out that $650 for a toilet seat is a reasonable price, competitive bidding notwithstanding.
If you’re one of the unlucky “small number” of people whose insurance contracts were cancelled by your insurer – 5.9 million policies and approximately 15 million people nationwide – you’re probably nervous about what you’re going to do come January 1st. You had a perfectly nice policy which suddenly went away and now you’re having some difficulty finding a replacement. Fortunately, the website is now working better than it did ten weeks ago – so there’s actually a chance you might be able to see what Obamacare has to offer.
And now you’re sitting there saying to yourself, “Self – my choices are getting a new policy with all sorts of provisions which I don’t want or need, paying a higher premium and having a huge deductible before I get any benefits. Or paying a $95 penalty or 1% of my income as a penalty by the IRS – which can only be collected if I get a refund. What do I do? Should I just take my chances and hope I don’t get sick and disregard the law, choosing to pay the penalty and pocketing the difference to self-fund my own healthcare? Oh, and if I do get sick, then I can sign up for Obamacare and since pre-existing conditions must be covered I am guaranteed the right to buy insurance?” Well, that seems like a plan to me. But wait, there’s a way to avoid the penalty entirely.
On page 1427 of the legislation which gave us Obamacare is an exemption from the law for two religious groups – Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites. (They are also exempt from being subject to paying Social Security and Medicare taxes). So all you have to do is convert to one of these two groups, start replacing your clothes with black homespun and you guys need to start letting your beards grow out.
I expect that as we get more details on all the “benefits” in store for us with Obamacare, we will see the populations of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana swell as more of us convert and become either Old Order Amish or Mennonites. Yes, you’ll have to give up your cell phone and toss out your television (no great loss there), but on a positive note, you’ll learn how to build a barn and deep down, admit it, haven’t you always wanted to learn how to whittle?