NRL News
202.626.8824
dadandrusk@aol.com

Obama Administration secretly extends deadline to enroll in healthcare exchange; support for ObamaCare reaches record low

by | Dec 23, 2013

 

By Dave Andrusko

Healthcareweb7Even before I could post a story, the Obama Administration (to no one’s surprise) suddenly (and secretly, according to the Washington Post) extended the date to enroll in the new healthcare exchange by a day.

For health plans that begin January 1, the deadline to enroll was midnight tonight. “But, without any public announcement, Obama administration officials have changed the rules so that people will have an extra day to enroll, according to two individuals with knowledge of the switch,” according to the Post’s Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin. “Over the weekend, government officials and outside IT contractors working on the online marketplace’s computer system made a software change that automatically gives people a Jan. 1 start date for their new coverage as long as they enroll by 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve.”

Surprised? Of course not. Rule-changes–starts, stops, extensions, expansions, de-exclusions–have been the order of the day since the eye-poppingly awful rollout of HealthCare.gov. Another “Eleventh hour” change, it seems, comes every day.

And ObamaCare’s popularity continues to sink, reaching record lows in a new CNN/ORC poll released today. Barely a third—35%–of the public supports the “Affordable Care Act,” down from an already abysmal 40% in November. Put another way, 62% oppose the law. Only one in six believes their family will be better off.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser casually notes, but does not expand on,

“[M]ost Americans predict that the Affordable Care Act will actually result in higher prices for their own medical care.” Well, yes, that has been the experienced documented in hundreds of news stories.

Greater opposition among women is the explanation. “Opposition to Obamacare rose six points among women, from 54% in November to 60% now, while opinion of the new law remained virtually unchanged among men,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “That’s bad news for an administration that is reaching out to moms across the country in an effort to make Obamacare a success.”

And guess who is enrolling in ObamaCare by the end of the day today? President Obama. Or, at least that’s what White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett signaled yesterday in a phone interview with American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April Ryan and confirmed today.

“This might be tougher than you’d think,” according to Hotair.com’s Ed Morrissey. “Barack Obama will have to enroll through DC Health Link, and that exchange is separate from Healthcare.gov. The DC exchange has been so problematic that Congress had to issue an extension to its own staffers two weeks ago.” (Of course, as President, Mr. Obama does not need to sign up for the program. See below.) Here’s the broader context, provided by The Hill’s Justin Sink:

“In a heated exchange last month on Capitol Hill, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) repeatedly asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius why she had not purchased insurance on the exchanges.

“Sebelius incorrectly said that it would be illegal for her to do so, because her healthcare was included in her compensation as a federal employee.

“Those with employer-provided insurance can purchase separate coverage through the exchanges, but are not eligible for tax credits to reduce the price of premiums. Sebelius, however, is prohibited from buying insurance because she is a Medicare enrollee.

“Obama, who is younger, has no such restriction — although the president also does not need to sign up. Presidents and their immediate families are eligible for free treatment in military hospitals during and after their presidencies.”

Categories: ObamaCare