there would only be 84 medals per competition. There will still be slots available for a lottery afterwards. Medaling in one of the competitions would only guarantee you a slot. I'm sure at least a portion of those slots will go unused in the NHC... so they would be slots (in addition to the un-claimed slots) that would go to the lottery. So in theory you could go on like you have been and still take you chances on a lottery or you could take steps to secure a position by helping out with the NHC the previous year or medaling in one of the selected comps. I think it would increase the quality of entries in the NHC.
I slowed down entering competitions last year (only entered 4 or 5 including NHC), this year I am planning on entering NHC and probably 1 other.
In your situation someone who wanted to enter could just pay the $30 to register a competition and register themselves and their friends as the winners. It'd be cheaper than entering a bunch of other competitions.