Bloggers are trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of certain provisions in the new health overhaul law, including whether an individual mandate is enforceable and if employers might drop coverage for their workers.
Slate’s Timothy Noah examines comments from Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman and tries to determine how the agency would enforce the individual requirement to purchase health insurance. Noah points out that the IRS “seemed to indicate that if you didn’t purchase health insurance and then refused to pay the fine, the IRS could seize any current or future tax refund headed your way.” He concludes, “In deference to health reform’s budding trend toward optimism, I hereby downgrade the enforceability issue from an impending crisis to an interesting question whose answer we’ll know soon enough.”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, back from a post-health debate vacation, steps into a blog argument over whether employers will drop health insurance benefits under the new law. Klein doesn’t think so: “My judgment is that a large move in this direction isn’t very likely. Benefits are sticky. Workers don’t like disruption. And new businesses that are hiring the sort of workers who would ordinarily get health benefits will be competing against businesses offering health benefits, and workers will likely prefer that arrangement. But if you do see a move in this direction, the policy responses aren’t too complicated: A mixture of a stronger employer mandate and more tax credits for businesses is likely, though I’d certainly prefer that we embrace the end of the employer-based health-care system and put into place policies that accelerate its decline.
Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey critiques the New York Times’ coverage of the health overhaul debate, jumping off of a new column from David Leonhardt. Morrissey writes: “Leonhardt goes on to praise ObamaCare as the start of saying ‘no’ to people who want more health care. That’s an interesting tack for the Times to take, especially after its screeching over the use of ‘death panels’ by critics, which meant exactly the same thing. … Once that medical care becomes an entitlement for everyone, no one will have any reason to exercise cost controls, and the comparative effectiveness policies created will wind up becoming the Dr. No of ObamaCare.”
Elsewhere, bloggers are still interested in state action.
TPMDC’s Evan McMorris-Santoro says there was no repeat of August’s emtional town halls while members were in their home districts recently: “On their first recess break since passing historic health care reform legislation, members of Congress have not faced anything like the crowds and anger from anti-reform advocates they faced last summer, when guns, shouts and even fist fights became a part of more than a few town hall meetings. A review of local press coverage from the past week shows that the rage that met members on the weekend the House passed the health care bill has, for the most part, not followed them home.
Heritage’s Kathryn Nix looks at a Wall Street Journal opinion piece opposing the new health law from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) and says, “The unintended consequences of Obamacare outlined by Gov. Daniels demonstrate why we would have been better off letting the states take the lead in reforming the health insurance market. A federalist approach allows states to adopt reforms that best suit the needs and desires of their residents.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky looks at comments from Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) who also said on Fox News that he did not support the new law and favors replacing it with different ideas. However, according to Volsky, Jindal is “proposing repealing all of these provisions and replacing them with very similar reforms” because the new law includes “all three of his ideas.”
Time’s Kate Pickert wonders, “Why is Mitt Romney still talking about health care?” The former Republican Massachusetts governor who signed a law with similar framework in his home state discussed the new law during an interview with a New Hampshire newspaper. Pickert concludes, “This indicates he’s made a political calculation – better to say he hates Obamacare and risk being called a disingenuous flip-flopper than to ignore or even embrace Obamacare and risk being called something far worse.”
And The Columbia Journalism Review’s Trudy Lieberman disagrees with The New Republic’s Harold Pollack that health reform was the “best-covered news story ever.” Lieberman reacts, “Better coverage than the Vietnam War; the civil rights movement; the consumer movement? Really? … Coverage of health reform has hardly risen to that level. … In numerous impromptu “town hall” interviews I conducted around the country, I found many people keenly interested in the health care debate. But they knew on some level that the media wasn’t helping them out.”