Pressed by a skeptical CNN host over the GOP’s “same old” political theater on Obamacare, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) struggled to answer whether the House GOP’s hearings will be about solving glitches, rather than getting rid of Obamacare. Instead, Gardner tried to accuse CNN of gaining an advantage over average Americans under the Affordable Care Act, ignoring that virtually nothing would change for the company even when the employer mandate takes effect.
Costello answered Gardner that no, the law does not give CNN employees special consideration, because their employer already provides health insurance.
GARDNER: Why does CNN get exempt from Obamacare when the American people are not exempt from Obamacare?
CAROL COSTELLO: I have health insurance through my employer. If I did not have a job I would not be exempt from Obamacare.
GARDNER: Your employer, your employer is exempt from Obamacare. The president made the decision –
COSTELLO: See we’re talking about the same thing we did with the government shutdown.
GARDNER: You’re actually trying to confuse the issue.
Here, Gardner appears to be referring to two provisions of the law — the individual mandate that goes into effect in 2014 and the employer mandate, which has been delayed an extra year to 2015. Although CNN would largely be unaffected, about 4 percent of large businesses will eventually have to adjust.
A delay of the individual mandate is not the same thing, because it would mean 11 million remain uninsured and would reduce coverage gains by 85 percent. The new Obamacare exchanges create a competitive marketplace where people who are uninsured, often because they lost their jobs, can find affordable insurance. The mandate, a small penalty that increases each year, ensures that young and healthy people also participate in these marketplaces. Not implementing it would drive up costs and unsettle the health insurance industry.
Since Costello already has insurance through her employer, none of this applies to CNN staff. The people Obamacare helps the most are those who are laid off or are bound to their employer simply because of health insurance.