Mil­lions of peo­ple may be exempt from the indi­vid­ual man­date – the CMS issued guid­ance on Decem­ber 19, 2013 “indi­cat­ing that indi­vid­u­als whose poli­cies are can­celed because the cov­er­age is not com­pli­ant with the Afford­able Care Act qual­i­fy for a hard­ship exemp­tion if they find oth­er options to be more expen­sive, and are able to pur­chase cat­a­stroph­ic cov­er­age. This hard­ship exemp­tion will con­tin­ue to be avail­able until Octo­ber 1, 2016 to those indi­vid­u­als whose non com­pli­ant cov­er­age is can­celed and who meet the require­ments spec­i­fied in the guid­ance” – in oth­er words, the Act is sup­posed to be “afford­able” but if it is not because the pol­i­cy was changed, even though the change was sup­posed to be about qual­i­ty, we are OK to over­look it, because we were kid­ding about forc­ing qual­i­ty on peo­ple despite its poten­tial unaf­ford­abil­i­ty? OK…and in pub­lic testimony