Remember when President Obama and Democrats shut down the government by refusing to compromise with Republicans over a delay in implementing Obamacare’s individual mandate, suggesting that anyone promoting the delay was dangerous extremist and probably a racist to boot? Well tonight the Obama administration announced a delay in the individual mandate.
Because they pretty much had to. Because this law isn’t working.
The Obama administration will grant extra 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, Fox News confirmed Tuesday.
All 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, federal officials told the Washington Post.
The Washington Post reported that users will have a chance to check a box on the website indicating they tried to enroll before the deadline, though the government will not try to determine whether the person actually made an effort to sign up.
“This is probably the first of many (extensions),” Chris Stirewalt told Megyn Kelly Tuesday on “The Kelly File.”
“This is the first nod to a dire political situation,” Stirewalt added.
Many states and the federal government experienced technical problems with the enrollment websites, but implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act has been a relative disaster in Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont.
The delay will be implemented on the honor system. Those saying they’ve tried to sign up will get the extension:
Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.
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.
It’s not just Republicans who are denouncing the law, though. A Democrat pollster is advising candidates on the left to call Obamacare flawed, and say it needs to be fixed:
Celinda Lake, whose firm Lake Research Partners provided the Democratic analysis of the new George Washington University Battleground Poll released Tuesday morning, summed up her advice to Democrats when it comes to Obamacare: “Don’t defend it.”
In unveiling the poll, she said that the new Democratic strategy should be for candidates to promise to fix the troubled system while pledging to help keep Americans out of the claws of greedy insurance firms.
“In terms of Obamacare, don’t defend it, say it was flawed from the beginning, and we’re going to fix it,” said Lake at a poll briefing hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
The problem is that this flawed-from-the-beginning law was shoved down America’s throat by a Democrat supermajority. There’s no dodging that bullet.