Jim Clark: The shoes keep dropping with Obamacare
May 12, 2014
Before I launch into this edition's topic I need to get an "every election year" rant off my chest. Political yard signs situated on voters' property are a great way for individuals to participate in the political process. Such signs are expressly exempted from TRPA sign regulations as long as they are 12 square feet or less and placed within 60 days of an election.
Political signs "bootlegged" onto NDOT and Washoe County road or highway rights of way (which extend well beyond the paved areas) are unlawful. Yet it never fails that narcissistic candidates pollute our scenic environment with offensive and illegal political signs.
Take a look at Highway 431 and Country Club as well as the old elementary school at Tahoe Blvd. These candidates are seeking elected office, yet they don't know how to obey the laws they will be responsible for administering. So here's a suggestion: Before you vote, write down the names of these scofflaws and then vote for someone else.
Now to the topic. Those waiting for the "second shoe" of Obamacare miscues to drop must be convinced that the shoe wearer is a centipede because they keep dropping.
The now-infamous "if you like your doctor you can keep him," the "healthcare.gov" website rollout, the feeble signup showing by young adults, and the impending failure of Nevada's health care exchange are merely the most publicized.
Here are a couple more that are just beginning to surface. Obamacare provides for government premium subsidies for taxpayers earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. That would be up to $46,680 for an individual or $69,920 for a couple, well above Nevada's median family income ("income" includes otherwise tax-free Social Security, tax free municipal bond interest and capital gains from investments).
Kiplinger's Retirement Report analyzes a hypothetical couple, both 62 years of age, whose previous year's income was $55,000 and projected to be the same for 2014. This couple would receive $9,342 in 2014 as a premium subsidy according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's subsidy calculator.
Suppose the couple owns mutual fund shares that experience an $8,000 capital gain in 2014. They don't actually get that cash yet it is "income" and will push the couple up to $63,000 in Obamacare income for 2014 triggering an obligation to repay the entire $9,342 back to the IRS. 2015 will not be a happy new year for them.
Another interesting Affordable Care Act phenomenon no one seems to have figured on is occurring in our southern border states. USA Today reports that Irma Montalvo, a US citizen living in Chula Vista, Calif., obligingly obtained and paid for insurance through California's Obamacare health insurance exchange.
When she developed a painful skin rash she didn't seek a local doctor but drove to Tijuana, Mexico, where her doctor diagnosed her condition as shingles. The doctor prescribed pain medication plus pharmaceuticals to head off complications and charged Irma $15 … less than her Obamacare insurance deductible. Irma much prefers Mexican doctors because they speak Spanish and take the time to listen to her.
A recent UCLA study found that half a million Mexican immigrants living in California regularly get medical, dental or prescription services south of the border. The study did not include Arizona, New Mexico or Texas.
So, in the case of a huge number folks of Latino ethnicity who live anywhere near our southern border, the ham-fisted federal government has come up with a sweeping and expensive "solution" affecting one sixth of the US economy to fix a problem that didn't exist.
Way to go Obama, Reid and Pelosi. Next time do your homework.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates, and has served on the Washoe County and Nevada state GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at email@example.com.