Obama Kick Obamacare Requirements Down The Road

Another day, another problem

(Politico) Why do Republicans even bother trying to delay Obamacare? President Barack Obama’s doing it all by himself.

On Thursday, the Obama administration gave customers permission to pay their premiums as late as Dec. 31 for coverage that starts Jan. 1, and officially gave customers an extra week – until Dec. 23 – to sign up for January coverage.

The move was just the latest in a long list of extensions, delays and punts that have plagued the health care law.

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The administration is also extending a critical program – the temporary high-risk pool for people with pre-existing conditions – through the end of January, to make sure none of them suddenly lose their health coverage because they can’t sign up for new Obamacare insurance by Jan. 1.

That’s after it postponed the employer coverage requirements for a year, delayed the online enrollment for the federal health insurance exchanges for small businesses, and told health insurers they can extend people’s coverage for an extra year – a last-minute attempt to un-cancel millions of canceled policies. It also delayed the Spanish-language website, even though Hispanics are a large proportion of the uninsured population. It even postponed next year’s enrollment period, pushing it conveniently past the November elections.

Of course, this is still about the website, which is going to work correctly at some point, and, yes, people will sign up. And most likely be moved to Medicaid, but that’s a different story. And probably have their identity stolen, again, a different story. The reality is that at the end of the day, this is still a bad law, which is forcing people to chose between paying a fine/fee/tax or purchasing insurance with high premiums and deductibles, a reduced provider network, rationing, and heavy government interference in your actual health care. Politifact chose “If you like your plan you can keep your plan” as its lie of the year. It should be the lie of the year for the past three years, and share with keeping your doctor.

Meanwhile, some Liberals are really pimping some numbers released by HHS, especially Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum, who pimps the notion of Vermony “kicking ass” when it comes to signing people up for O-care

Which states are doing the best at signing up people for Obamacare? Business Insider has a state-by-state chart here showing the number of people who have completed the process 100 percent: they’ve actually chosen a specific plan and officially enrolled their families. But I figure a better measure of activity is the number of people who have completed an application and been confirmed eligible to purchase private insurance via the exchange. They still have the final enrollment step left, but they’ve obviously navigated everything successfully, which is a good measure of how smoothly things are rolling out.

Here’s a better number: those who’ve paid their initial premium. A better number would be those who’ve paid for it for at least a year. Kevin highlights a chart that shows how many in Vermont, which runs its own exchange, doing will in confirmed eligibility. Have they paid? CNN is running an article noting that 365,000 have signed up

Through November, just over 137,200 Americans have picked an insurance policy through healthcare.gov and nearly 227,500 through the 14 state-run exchanges, according to new federal figures released Wednesday. That’s up from a total of 106,000 who signed up in October.

One problem

These figures reflect people who have selected an insurance plan, but not all have paid their first month’s premium, which activates the coverage. An additional 1.94 million people have been determined eligible to enroll, but have not yet picked a policy.

Of course, HHS doesn’t have the actual figures as to how many have, you know, paid. I can chose products over at Amazon all day long and put them in the shopping cart, however that’s meaningless until I actually pay for them.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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