To no one's surprise, President Obama decided to give more time to Americans who say they are unable to enroll in health care plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the deadline set for the end of March.
According to the latest Presidential power grab, consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension. People don't have to prove that they tried to apply, they just have to check a box on the website indicating they tried to enroll before the deadline, and the government will not try to determine whether the person actually made an effort to sign up.
According to the Washington Post:
The rules, which will apply to the federal exchanges operating in three dozen states, will essentially create a large loophole even as White House officials have repeatedly said that the March 31 deadline was firm. The extra time will not technically alter the deadline but will create a broad new category of people eligible for what’s known as a special enrollment period.
The change, which the administration is scheduled to announce Wednesday, is supported by consumer advocates who want as many people as possible to gain insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. But it’s likely to be criticized by Republicans who oppose the law and have denounced the way the administration is implementing it.
Administration officials said the accommodation is an attempt to prepare for a possible surge of people trying to sign up in the final days before the deadline. Such a flood could leave some people unable to get through the system.Gee another day, another action which the President does not have the constitutional power to make. Based on this delay, the next one will be for people who really truly wanted to sign up but forgot all about it until they got the notice they were being audited by the IRS.
“We are . . . making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment — either online or over the phone,” said Julie Bataille, director of the office of communications for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the federal health-care exchange.
UPDATE: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus issued this statement:
Another day, another ObamaCare delay from the same Obama Administration that won’t work with Republicans to help Americans suffering from the unintended consequences of the Democrats’ failed healthcare law. Democrats in leadership may say they are doubling down on ObamaCare but you have to wonder how many more unilateral delays their candidates running in 2014 can withstand.”