San Fran Chronicle’s Helpful Tip: Lower Your Income to Qualify for Obamacare Cash

magine a world where everyone held hands and shared equally in the income amassed by a few. Barack Obama is able to imagine such a world. He articulated his vision of it in July 2011, when he expressed his loathing for being “able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their [sic] kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve [sic] got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans.”

He never enlarged upon the novel concept of “additional income that I don’t need” or who gets to make that determination for other people, but he has made it clear on several occasions that he is a firm believer in income redistribution.

So apparently is Kathleen Pender, who has a piece at the San Francisco Chronicle blog SFGate in which she shares her own vision of an Obamian socialist utopia. In Pender’s world, as in Obamas, there are givers and takers. She explains in several easy steps how to become a taker in the free-for-all bloodsport of Obamacare:

People whose 2014 income will be a little too high to get subsidized health insurance from Covered California next year should start thinking now about ways to lower it to increase their odds of getting the valuable tax subsidy.

‘If they can adjust (their income), they should,’ says Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation. ‘It’s not cheating, it’s allowed.’

Under the Affordable Care Act, if your 2014 income is between 138 and 400 percent of poverty level for your household size, you can purchase health insurance on a state-run exchange (such as Covered California) and receive a federal tax subsidy to offset all or part of your premium.

What a glorious plan! With a few minor adjustments, any Californian can become a ward of the federal government. All Golden Staters have to do is lower their income until they qualify for free health care. Some even might be encouraged to take their poverty down a notch, enabling them to qualify for food stamps. Sub-basement’s the limit!

But there’s an even easier way to qualify for a health care subsidy, thanks to the care with which the law was implemented: Lie.

As the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff reported in July, the income verification system that was supposed to be ready in time for the opening of the exchanges was delayed. The administration will this be taking enrollees at their word with respect to their income through 2015. The lapse, Kliff noted, is an open invitation to rampant fraud, which is already commonplace in Medicare and Medicaid.