In another move that violates his own signature healthcare law, Barack Obama announced on Wednesday a delay of the individual mandate deadline. Apparently this has to do with the pitiful excuse of the Healthcare.gov website and the mandate could be delayed by as much as six weeks.
The delay is to give "experts" time to fix the mess that is Healthcare.gov. One wonders if these are the same "experts" that created the mess in the first place at taxpayer expense, and one would also wonder if those "experts" are getting paid to fix what should have worked in the first place.
"As the Obama administration weighed changes to the individual mandate, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that it will hold daily briefings to update reporters on the progress of what President Barack Obama has called the "tech surge" to rectify the hitches and glitches on the troubled health care website.
The daily briefings will start Thursday, just two days after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Obama did not know about the health insurance website's hitches and glitches until after it was launched three weeks ago."
"In the Marketplaces, you have to sign up by the 15th of a given month in order for health insurance to start on the first day of the next month," the White House said in a statement. "As a result, some have asked whether consumers could face a tax penalty if they don't enroll in coverage by Feb. 15thof next year. This is not the case. If you sign up for insurance by the end of March, you will not face a penalty (tax)." (strike through mine, adding tax)
Now this is just pure bunk. The website is not full of "glitches." It is a disaster. We reported back in July that the Obama administration knew that the Obamacare Beast wouldn't be ready for implementation for months, at least back as far as March 2013. At that time, it was already costing people their jobs.
The Washington Post attempted to cover for the Obama administration in a report that claimed this was not a delay:
The Obama administration confirmed to The Washington Post a little bit ago that it is indeed tweaking the way the individual mandate works as to not penalize anyone who purchases coverage during this first open enrollment period.
It's not quite right to describe this as a delay of the individual mandate, or an extension of open enrollment. There will still be a requirement to carry insurance coverage in 2014, and open enrollment still ends on March 31, 2014 -- two facts that are true now and were true yesterday.
The short of this is there is a delay. The above is Orwellian doublespeak. In one paragraph you say it is delayed without using the word. In the second paragraph, you use the word, but say it can't be defined as that. If that tax penalty is not enforced during that time, guess what? It's a delay.
Not only was the implementation of the law not ready, but we also reported that the computer system wasn't ready either. In fact, the Associated Press said the particular fix that was needed, one in which the computer system limited penalties that the "law says the companies may charge smokers would take at least a year to fix." Seriously, how can it take a year to fix what should be a simple programming issue? But this is what the Obama administration quietly told insurers.
Now Democrats are standing up. I presume it's due to an election year that is upon us. Several senate Democrats are calling on the administration to delay enforcing the individual mandate. This seems right on que. Fox News reports:
The Democratic dominoes began to fall quickly Wednesday, after Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., circulated a letter urging President Obama to extend enrollment beyond March 31, 2014.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in a statement released late Wednesday, said: "I believe, given the technical issues, it makes sense to extend the time for people to sign up."
Shaheen and several moderate Democrats supporting her, including Pryor, are up for re-election in 2014, and no doubt taking note of the widespread discontent with the launch of HealthCare.gov.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who is not up for election next year, is working on a bill that would delay the IRS penalty for one year for anyone who does not get insurance.
Every one of these senators is a deceiver in my opinion. They all were unwilling to bend to defunding Obamacare. They all voted to fund it and would not negotiate it one bit. Here's their vote to prove it. Now they want to ask Obama to delay implementation? That is their job, not Obama's. They are the legislators. If they want it delayed, they have to write the law. The Executive Branch does not get to pick and choose (though this administration has done that) which laws it wants to follow and which ones it doesn't, or worse, twist those laws to comport with their agenda.
The latest Rasmussen Poll shows that American voters overwhelmingly support delaying the mandate:
Just over half of U.S. voters still want to delay the requirement that everyone must have health insurance, but support for delaying that mandate is down, despite the ongoing problems with government exchange websites set up to provide health insurance.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters think the Obama administration should delay the individual mandate because of the problems experienced by the health insurance exchanges. Thirty-four percent (34%) disagree and oppose any delay in the requirement that every American have health insurance by January 1. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.
Obama's Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attempted to play fast and loose with the truth about the readiness of the Obamacare website. "I think that we talked about having testing going forward, and if we had an ideal situation and could have built a product in, you know, a five-year period of time we probably would have taken five years, but we didn't have five years. We wanted to make sure we made good on this final implementation of the law."
Many of you are probably saying, "Tim, what's the big deal? The mandate is being delayed. That's a good thing, right?" I agree it's a good thing. A better thing would be to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with nothing. However, the bigger issue should be the usurpation of power by the Executive Branch to, in essence, rewrite the law. That is Congress' job. Yet, Congress pleads with the Executive Branch as though Obama is King. This should not be.
If you are wondering why Obama wouldn't budge on the spending bill, I submit to you that he stood his ground, knowing Republicans would cave to political pressure and then dump this on them in the end. They should be calling his bluff and holding him accountable for exceeding his authority. Then they should add this overreach of authority to his list of impeachable offenses.
Representative Steve Stockman apparently gets it:
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Remember, when Republicans suggested delaying ObamaCare because the site doesn't work Democrats called that "terrorism" and shut down govt.
— Rep. Steve Stockman (@ReElectStockman) October 22, 2013