The Obama administration has decided once again to make adjustments to the Affordable Care Act, secretly extending the deadline for enrollment by one day.
Midnight on Dec. 23 (Monday) was the original cut off date for enrollment for people who want coverage starting January 1. But without so much as a formal announcement, consumers will now have until midnight on Tuesday to enroll in Obamacare, the Washington Post reported, citing two officials who are familiar with the situation.
Although the extension doesn’t seem especially disconcerting — indeed, it’s only 24 hours — the fact the White House decided to adjust the enrollment date without first consulting Congress or making a formal announcement has raised some eyebrows.
“Over the weekend, government officials and outside IT contractors working on the online marketplace’s computer system made a software change that automatically gives people a Jan. 1 start date for their new coverage as long as they enroll by 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve,” the Post’s Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin write.
A source familiar with the situation said the unannounced adjustment is meant to guard against possible website failures, something most Americans have come to expect at this point.
“(T)he one-day extension is automatic, built into the computer software, and cannot be overridden by individual insurers if they object,” the Post report adds.
It should be noted that this isn’t even the first time the White House has acted alone to make adjustments to Obamacare.
Other tweaks involved a decision late last week by the Department of Health and Human Services to “offer an exemption from a requirement that most Americans have insurance as of Jan. 1,” the Post reminds. “The exemption applies to people whose current health plans are being canceled because the policies failed to meet new federal benefits standards.”
Unsurprisingly, representatives from the insurance industry have protested loudly against the White House’s many changes to President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
The secret Monday extension “creates further challenges to get people enrolled and get their coverage start in January,” an official with the insurance industry who asked to remain anonymous told the Post.
However, one government official defended the many changes, arguing that they “are working through that guidance right now in terms of how that would work for consumers, so that all those who make a good-faith effort to get enrolled by the deadline will get the effort for them to get covered and get it right.”
A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did not immediately respond to TheBlaze request for comment regarding the unannounced change.
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