The White House announced Tuesday that it would again extend the Obamacare enrollment deadline for persons with pre-existing conditions.
The deadline for the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP) will be moved to March 15, up from its previous deadline of Jan. 31.
“As part of our continuing effort to help smooth consumers’ transition into Marketplace coverage, we are allowing those covered by PCIP additional time to shop for new coverage while they receive the ongoing care and treatment they need,” Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.
The Tuesday announcement is the second time that the Obama administration — without the approval or consent of Congress — has decided to move up the PCIP enrollment deadline. The original deadline was scheduled for the end of December. Of course, the White House decided in December to extend its original deadline because of failure of the online federal health care exchanges.
But keep in mind: The White House has tweaked a lot more than just the PCIP enrollment deadline.
“The new extension is just the latest in a string of unilateral delays the administration has implemented to buy time after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov,” The Hill reported.
“The Obama administration has so far delayed the premium payments deadline, delayed by one week the sign-up date for coverage beginning Jan. 1, pushed back by six weeks the sign-up date for those seeking coverage by April 1, and delayed the second-year enrollment period until after the 2014 elections,” the report adds.
Again, the White House never consulted or sought the approval of Congress for these changes, which is odd considering that the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that Obamacare is constitutional so long as it’s considered a tax.
The Hill report continues: “The $5 billion PCIP program was intended as bridge health coverage to sick patients waiting for the full implementation of ObamaCare. The administration says that 135,000 have used the program at some point, but did not say how many were currently in PCIP.”
Fewer than 30,000 people are still enrolled, an HHS spokesperson told The Hill.
“HHS stopped accepting new applicants early last year over fears the program didn’t have enough money to cover those that had signed up,” the report adds.
For its part, the American Cancer Society is pleased with the Obama administration’s decision to extend the PCIP enrollment deadline for a second time.
“Today’s announcement ensures that people with pre-existing conditions such as a history of cancer have lifesaving coverage under the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan through the end of open enrollment,” a spokesman said in a statement. “The extension gives cancer patients and others who had no health insurance options before enrolling in PCIP extra time to choose a marketplace plan that works best for them and their families.”
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