Michelle Singletary
Michelle Singletary
Columnist

Get ready for a showdown to try to shut down Obamacare

As a summary in The Washington Post points out, “With the health-insurance marketplaces scheduled to open for enrollment Oct. 1, millions of Americans, and officials at all levels of government, are trying to figure out what the sweeping Affordable Care Act means for them. On Jan. 1, the law goes into full effect.”

The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, is expected to be the biggest change in the nation’s health-care system in decades. And yet, the fight to defund it continues.

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House Republican leaders are set to make a move on Friday that “would take a risky double-barreled attack on President Obama’s health-care law, making it the cornerstone fight over government funding due to expire Sept. 30 and the effort to lift the Treasury’s borrowing authority,” Paul Kane and Ed O’Keefe reported for The Post.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has said he plans to take out any health-care provisions from the bill and send it back to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

So there you have it, a scheduled smackdown to shut down the ACA.

Meanwhile, government officials – federal and state -- are moving ahead to figure out how to get the new health care marketplaces up and running by Oct. 1.

If you’re interested in taking a side trip away from the fight among Republicans and Democrats and want some guidance on the new health care plans, read the series of Post articles by reporters who are following the administration’s efforts to implement Obamacare.

-- The Post’s Lena H. Sun took a look this week at what you need to know to choose a plan.

— Here’s a time line that may help you.

— Sarah Kliff of The Post’s Wonkblog has been hard at work chronicling how the Affordable Care Act is changing the American health-care system in her excellent Health Reform Watch feature.

-- Mary Agnes Carey and Julie Appleby from Kaiser Health News walk you through how the health law’s online exchanges work and what you need to know to get started.

-- If you missed it, here is the link for the transcript of the online chat in which Appleby and Carey, senior correspondents at Kaiser Health News, answered questions about navigating the health insurance exchange.

Color of Money Question of the Week

What are your thoughts on the Affordable Care Act? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Please include your name, city and state.Put “Showdown to Shutdown Obamacare.”

Color of Money Live Chat

Today’s online discussion will begin an hour early, at 11 a.m. Eastern.

If you’ve got a money management issue you can’t figure out, I may be able to help. Or come by to just chat about recent events involving personal finance.

AARP Mamas and Papas Pushing Obamacare

Among the uninsured are 19 million young adults. As I wrote recently, there is concern that not enough young healthy adults will buy insurance to help offset the cost of those who are older and sicker and will need a lot of health-care services. Some experts believe these concerns are overstated. They note that insurance plans in the new marketplace will cover a core set of benefits, such as hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance-use disorder services, and prescription drugs.

Still, in an effort to encourage enrollment among millennials, AARP has created some funny e-cards they are nudging parents to send to their adult children.

Here are a few examples:

“Shop for a health plan the same way you shop for everything else…online, in your underpants.”

“I don’t mind being the reason you get health insurance. You are the reason I drink wine out of a box.”

“As a reward for signing up for health insurance, I’ll defriend you on Facebook. You’re welcome.”

Another Color of Money Question of the Week

If you could create an e-card to get young adults to enroll, what would it say? Send your responses to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Put “AARP Mamas and Papas Pushing Obamacare” in the subject line and include your full name, city and state.

Navy Yard Shootings

They were just working, not bothering anybody.

It’s important to remember the victims of the shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. When the violence ended, 12 people just going about their work had been gunned down.

The Post has been running some amazing profiles giving us a glimpse of the people who lost their lives.

There was one detail in a story about a handyman named Arthur Daniels that nearly brought me to tears.

Daniels, 51, who was working for a contractor at the Navy Yard, happened to be moving and installing furniture in Building 197 on Monday morning. He was shot in the back.

The Post’s Emily Wax-Thibodeaux writes: “That morning, Priscilla Daniels kissed her husband of 30 years and teased that they should stay in bed because it was raining.”

“‘Stay home with me,’ she told him. But he said, ‘Bills to pay, I gotta go in.’”

Read, if you can, the life stories of people who were just doing their jobs when they were killed by a lone gunman.

Rental History, Please

Starting next year, many homebuyers will have to show 12 to 24 months’ proof of a housing payment history, which would include paying rent to your parents if you live with them. The new rule, which I wrote about in last week’s e-newsletter, is part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage rule that goes into effect Jan. 10. The change is the federal government’s effort to stop a creditor from making a higher-priced mortgage loan without regard to the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

For last week’s Color of Money Question, I asked: “What do you think of the new mortgage rule?”

Kimberly Rotter of San Diego wrote: “Prior to the housing bust, millions of Americans got into loans they couldn’t afford. I don’t see any problem with verifying that a borrower understands and can handle what he or she is getting into. The rent money is easy enough to funnel back to the child anyway. The parents can stash it and then give it back as a gift for the down payment, which is still perfectly legal.”

Robert Markle of Grand Haven, Mich., said: “I won’t call it a complete waste of regulatory effort, but a generous parent can easily work around this rule by ‘rebating’ all or part of the documented rent paid. They could even set up an artificially high rent, thus easily defeating the new rule. Nice try, though.”

Nadine Robertson of Tallahassee, Fla., wrote on Facebook: “Let’s say I did pay rent to my parents but they didn’t report the income, will it cause them a problem with the IRS later down the road? On the other hand, if I’ve been able to pay rent on an apartment or home for several years that should be taken into account when trying to get a home loan.”

Tia Lewis contributed to this report.

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to www.postbusiness.com.

 
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