If the headline of this post is confusing it is because you haven’t yet mastered Obamaspeak, which permits riddles like the following: When is a deadline not a deadline? (Answer: When the White House says so.)
Here is how the Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein parses the administration’s latest announcement:
The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline.
Federal officials confirmed Tuesday evening that all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.
Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth. [Emphasis added]
Isn’t that special? A president who lies as easily (and frequently) as he breathes is willing to trust his constituents to tell the truth. And speaking of the truth, here is the official explanation of why Team Obama is creating “a special enrollment period” for “a broad new category of people eligible” to apply after the deadline:
Administration officials said the accommodation is an attempt to prepare for a possible surge of people trying to sign up in the final days before the deadline. Such a flood could leave some people unable to get through the system.
“We are . . . making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment — either online or over the phone,” said Julie Bataille, director of the office of communications for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the federal health-care exchange.
Sure, that’s why they’re doing this.
But at least there is now a real and final (mid-April) deadline, right? Not necessarily:
Starting in about mid-April, people will no longer be able to get extensions through HealthCare.gov. After that, consumers will be able to request one through one of the federally sponsored call centers nationwide. At that point, the grounds for an extension will become narrower, matching rules for special enrollment periods that have existed for the past few months. [Emphasis added]
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