With yet more Affordable Care Act deadlines at hand, it’s time for the increasingly desperate Obama administration to throw some more Hail Mary passes.
Initially, anyone seeking to have an Obamacare-compliant health insurance plan in place by Jan. 1, when the law’s individual coverage mandate takes effect, had to enroll by Nov. 15. Then, much to the chagrin of the insurance companies who are supposed to make this law work, the Obama administration extended the deadline to Dec. 15. Now the deadline for registration is today, giving insurers all of one week — including two federal holidays and a weekend — to review and approve last-minute applications.
New Year’s Eve was supposed to be the last day for Obamacare enrollees to pay their first premium. But enrollment in the overpriced, high-deductible, reduced-network plans remains pathetic — National Review Online reports 45 states haven’t reached 10 percent of their sign-up goals. And most of those few enrollees still haven’t paid. That’s a huge problem for the Obama administration, which has equated applications, not payments, with coverage.
Now the Obama administration has a fix for that, too. At the request of the Department of Health and Human Services, most health insurers will give consumers until Jan. 10 to make their first payment for coverage that takes effect Jan. 1.
Yes, as the president said, this is just like shopping on Amazon.com. Send me that 72-inch flat screen TV by Christmas, and I’ll provide my credit card number sometime in January — cross my heart!
HHS is even asking insurers to cover individuals who offer a “down payment,” even if it covers only a portion of the first month’s premium. How could somebody only afford a portion of the monthly premium? After all, this is the Affordable Care Act, right? That’s what the law was sold as, but the high cost is just like many other aspects of Obamacare: hidden from the public for as long as possible until such time that it can’t be hidden anymore, at which point the Obama administration issues another Band-Aid “request” to delay the inevitable.
But wait, there’s more: On Thursday, the administration announced that those who had their plans canceled — even plans they liked, which the president said they could keep — can now claim hardship to get a “temporary” exemption from the law’s individual mandate. It’s just another example of how the law’s implementation is creating absolute chaos for the health care industry, individuals and families.
Here we have an administration that promised transparency, yet almost all information related to Obamacare enrollment is on lockdown. The government routinely records and obsesses over microdata, but won’t reveal the most basic demographics of who is signing up for Obamacare and, just as important, who isn’t. HHS continues to require or strongly suggest that insurers take steps that are not in the companies’ financial interests, but instead in the political interests of the Obama administration.
There is nothing to suggest that this law will do anything that President Barack Obama, his administration and every Democrat in Congress promised. The desperation is such that, rather than tout the law’s awesomeness, they’ve resorted to tweeting links detailing how expensive it would be to repeal it. As if what we’re dealing with today is a bargain.
The problem with Hail Marys: they can’t turn a loss into a win when you’re down by seven touchdowns and the clock has already run out. Repeal and replace.