Another ObamaCare deadline delayed
Another triumph for the Peoples’ Glorious Health Care Leap Forward, as the garbage website Barack Obama dumped on the American people is cited as the reason for unilaterally delaying yet another deadline – and this one’s already been pushed back once before. The Hill reports:
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it was again extending the ObamaCare enrollment deadline for people with pre-existing conditions.
The administration said it will extend the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), slated to end January 31, until March 15.
“As part of our continuing effort to help smooth consumers’ transition into Marketplace coverage, we are allowing those covered by PCIP additional time to shop for new coverage while they receive the ongoing care and treatment they need,” Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.
The deadline was originally at the end of December, but last month the administration pushed it back through January because of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov website.
The program in question is yet another poorly planned element of the Affordable Care Act that ran into budget problems. As usual, certain details are being withheld from the public for absolutely no justifiable reason. The Administration treats ObamaCare as though it were a top-secret national security program, with hard data carefully parceled out on a strict need-to-know basis.
The $5 billion PCIP program was intended as bridge health coverage to sick patients waiting for the full implementation of ObamaCare. The administration says that 135,000 have used the program at some point, but did not say how many were currently in PCIP.
An HHS official told The Hill there are less than 30,000 people still enrolled.
HHS stopped accepting new applicants early last year over fears the program didn’t have enough money to cover those that had signed up.
Naturally, advocates for those covered by the PCIP system, such as the American Cancer Society, applaud the effort to make things easier on those who are currently struggling with serious health problems. Of all the deadlines kicked around by the ObamaCare commissars, this one is perhaps the easiest to justify adjusting. Nobody wants to make things unnecessarily rough on seriously ill patients. (The Hill ran down a list of all the other deadlines that have been shifted: “The Obama administration has so far delayed the premium payments deadline, delayed by one week the sign-up date for coverage beginning Jan. 1, pushed back by six weeks the sign-up date for those seeking coverage by April 1, and delayed the second-year enrollment period until after the 2014 elections.”)
But it seems odd that repeated movement of this particular cut-off date would be required, because the people covered by PCIP should be the most eager ObamaCare customers of all. The entire American health care system was partially nationalized for their benefit. They’re the reason the rest of us are trapped on this merry-go-round of failure and lies. They also have more direct familiarity with the health care system that the average person, which should make them somewhat better equipped to navigate the Affordable Care Act’s bureaucratic maze. And of course, securing benefits is a high priority for those who have immediate need of them, unlike the Young Invincibles, who aren’t entirely sure what they’re paying for.
Why are some 30,000 people with pre-existing conditions still running behind on ObamaCare enrollment, then? The Wall Street Journal mentions that many states also run high-risk insurance pools which have already announced they will “stay open past the end of 2013 as problems with the online health-insurance exchanges mounted.” Perhaps there is still some confusion about when the cutoff date for these benefits was supposed to be, as some of the 30,000 still remaining in the federal program are looking at the later deadlines provided by their state programs.
Remember when the Administrations’ team of liars were telling us that the problems with Healthcare.gov were minor, and mostly due to its incredible popularity? Here’s the brutal reality: the system launch was such a horrific disaster that even those with the most urgent need to access it were unable to do so. We were then told the problems were mostly fixed after the Thanksgiving weekend… but here we are, halfway through January, and of the roughly 85,000 people the Wall Street Journal says were enrolled in PCIP as 2012 drew to a close, fully a third of them still haven’t gotten coverage, requiring another two-month extension in the deadline. That doesn’t speak well for the functionality of the exchange system, which has now supposedly been running at 80 or 90 percent effectiveness for almost two months. Or… could it be that even some consumers with serious existing health conditions are looking at those ObamaCare policies and concluding they’re not a good value?
President Obama rolled out his plans for further dictatorial abuse of his executive powers the other day by declaring, “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need, I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.” Too bad he never used that phone to ring up HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and ask her how work on his “signature achievement” was coming along, huh? Maybe if he’d been paying more attention, it wouldn’t be necessary to jerk people around (and cause havoc in the insurance industry) by rewriting all these deadlines.