Republicans aren’t letting the Obama administration get away with the decision to delay next year’s open enrollment season under ObamaCare until after the 2014 midterm elections. Lawmakers accused the Obama administration of attempting to hide increases in ObamaCare premiums and rate shock until after the 2014 midterm elections.
As reported by People’s Pundit Daily, the administration announced Friday it would allow consumers to start signing up for coverage under ObamaCare on November 15, 2014, which is conveniently after the midterm elections and 1 month later than originally scheduled. The unilateral policy change will not affect those who must register this year.
Congressional Republicans called out the administration for changing the dates due to political motives, or to hide an inevitable spike in 2015 premiums. It is unclear whether this tactic will work, because information will most likely be available for 2015 premiums already before the midterm elections on November 4, 2014.
“That means that if premiums go through the roof in the first year of ObamaCare, no one will know about it until after the election,” Senator Chuck Grassley R-IA said in a statement. “This is clearly a cynical political move by the Obama administration to use extra-regulatory, by any means necessary tools to keep this program afloat and hide key information from voters.”
Grassley was echoed by Senator Lamar Alexander R-TN, who accused the White House of moving next year’s open enrollment date as a last minute effort to protect embattled Democrats up for reelection next year (View Interactive PPD 2014 Senate Map).
“The only American consumers this change will help are Democratic politicians who voted for Obamacare, because it delays disclosure of some of the law’s most insidious effects until after the election,” Senator Alexander said in a statement.
Senator Alexander also said that he intends to introduce a bill that would require insurers to provide Americans with “proper notice” of premium increases before open enrollment period on the exchanges begins. The requirement would bring the information that the administration hopes to conceal before the election, just as the administration did in 2012.
The administration claims that the change is to allow insurers more time to prepare and submit premiums.
“This change is good news for consumers, who will have more time to learn about plans before enrolling and an open enrollment period that’s a week longer,” said a Health and Human Service Department official.
This year, 17 states and Washington, D.C., posted the data publicly ahead of the administration. “We’ll definitely start seeing some premiums earlier from state insurance departments,” said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
However, the Democrats could skirt political consequence if the website fails again during the next open enrollment season, because that second act would not take place until after the 2014 midterm election votes are counted.
Separately, the administration also announced a small schedule change in this year’s open enrollment season, pushing that deadline to December 23. The administration has plainly refused calls from both Republicans and Democrats to delay or extend the current enrollment period beyond March 31, 2014.