We should probably all agree to stay away from the Internet today, lest our heads explode at the sound of millions of wingnut monkeys screeching over arcane minutiae in regard to changing deadlines around health insurance enrollment in line with the ACA (please do not stay away from yr Wonkette.)
Our Most Glorious Lodestar in All the Heavens, the One True Barack Obama, has gone and used the Constitution to scoop his dogs’ poop off the South Lawn. Again. Just one week after the end of the government shutdown precipitated in part by his refusal to delay the individual insurance-purchasing mandate for Obamacare, El Jefe has once again ignored a law written by Congress to…delay the individual mandate! Outrage! Impeach! Wingnuts, begin your argling and bargling!
Or maybe not. Sexplain it to us, Washington Post Wonkblogger Sarah Kliff.
The health care law’s open enrollment period runs from Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. During those six months, shoppers can purchase coverage through HealthCare.gov[…]
Under federal regulations, anyone who has a gap in coverage three months or longer has to pay a tax penalty. If you go without coverage for one month, the federal government gives you a pass. But if you are uncovered for at least one day in three separate months — January, February and March, for example — the federal government will fine you.
First of all, we would like to date Sarah Kliff, if only so she could whisper sweet health-care policy points in our ear over romantic candlelit dinners and bottles of Sauzet. Or we would lounge in the tub and rub her back while she recited insurance company actuarial tables from memory. Because smart women are hawt. (WHICH IS WHY WE’RE GLAD YOU’RE GONE, HELEN.)
Secondly, what does this all mean? Let’s say you are an uninsured moocher who waits until sometime in March to buy a health-insurance policy, and that policy becomes effective April 1. Well, then the federal government could still fine you for having gone the first three months of 2014 without insurance. Except those three months are still part of the open-enrollment period. So to avoid that fine, you would really need to enroll by mid-February so your coverage would become effective no later than March 1, thus allowing you to avoid the penalty.
The administration’s solution was to move that mid-February deadline. Now anyone who buys a policy that goes into effect on April 1 will not be fined for having gone insurance-plan-free the first three months of the year, assuming that person is buying insurance through the open marketplace. People don’t have to be confused by two deadlines, plus they get an extra six weeks to sign up. Simple.
Unless you are the dimwitted ass lice that make up the conservative wing of American politics. Said ass lice are in full froth, screeching and snarking about Obama delaying the individual mandate for six weeks when he could have just done it last month instead of shutting down the government and it’s only bad to delay the mandate if you are a Republican and Tyranny because the change happened without Congress and waaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.
Except this isn’t a delay of the mandate. You still have to purchase insurance before the end of the open-enrollment period. If you don’t, you pay the fine. That was always the plan, and it remains the plan, forever and ever, world without end, amen.
The more you know.