COMMENTARY | The old party line was that only a bomb throwing, hostage taking Republican terrorist would be in favor of delaying the individual mandate for Obamacare. The new party line is that it is a sensible idea, all things considered.
Those things, of course, are the fact that the Obamacare signup website is so dysfunctional as to have shut down the Affordable Care Act de facto. Thus, every Senate Democrat who is up for reelection in 2014 will support a measure that will extend the enrollment deadline, giving the tech surge a chance to fix the website, according to Breitbart. Market Watch adds that now the White House is mulling another executive order doing the same for as much as six weeks.
Hot Air explains the difference between delaying the individual mandate and extending the enrollment period and why that doesn’t matter.
“What’s the difference between extending the enrollment period and delaying the mandate? Well, for one thing, after three years of ferocious Republican attacks (replete with a landmark Supreme Court suit) on the mandate, saying that they’re merely extending the enrollment period would let the White House save a bit of extra face in confirming that the GOP was right to think O-Care wasn’t ready for primetime. Beyond that, though, if you leave the February 15th mandate deadline in effect while extending the period of enrollment from March 31st into, say, July, you run into two big problems. One: If you’ve already paid the penalty in mid-February, why would you then go ahead and buy insurance before July? You’ve already fulfilled your legal obligation to Uncle Sam. Two: The only reason you might buy insurance after you’ve already paid the penalty is because you’ve fallen ill or gotten in an accident and now desperately need insurance – and thanks to ObamaCare’s new rules about preexisting conditions, insurers wouldn’t be able to turn you down. That’s another variation of the death spiral, where only the sick and injured bother to enroll while everyone else stays out of the pool. If you want to extend the enrollment period to encourage the healthy to sign up, you might as well delay the mandate entirely by pushing back the penalty deadline too. But if you do that, you’re also in death-spiral territory because you’re relaxing the incentive on the young and healthy to enroll ASAP. There’s no obvious way out of this maze except fixing the site quickly – or delaying the whole law, of course. Tick tock.”
The problem is that the website is not likely to be fixed in six weeks or six months. The Obama administration and the Senate Democrats who are not scrambling to find a way out of the Obamacare mess may just be delaying the inevitable to right in the middle of the 2014 campaign season.