“Temporary federal program” leads to another Obamacare extension

It’s almost impossible to keep track at this point. Obamacare delays and extensions come so frequently and so quietly that it’s hard to even pinpoint the exact number of times these constitutionally questionable changes have been made (by most counts, in the neighborhood of 40). But yet again this week, the Obama administration made a tacit admission of the law’s unworkability, as they announced an extension for high-risk enrollees to sign up after a “temporary” element of the law was extended several times beyond its original expiration. 

The “Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan” (PCIP) was designed to cover people insurers had turned away, and then dissolve in 2013 as the rule took effect that barred insurance companies from turning customers away because of their health status. But after three delays, PCIP benefits were extended to the end of April of this year. Now, as they run out, the administration is granting those under PCIP an extra two months to enroll in the marketplace exchanges.

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Not only is the delay yet another example of Obamacare’s failure, it also adds another twist for insurers and the premium costs America can expect. Already, former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted premiums will rise in 2015 – now, the increases are likely to be exacerbated as more sick people join the risk pool.

In reporting the latest change, The Hill ironically described PCIP as a “temporary federal program.” As President Reagan said, “the nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.” And true to form, PCIP just could not expire when it was supposed to, once again confirming that the so-called “deadlines” in Obamacare are more suggestion than legally binding statutes.   

Of course, in his repeated declarations that Obamacare is working, President Obama does not acknowledge the countless adjustments his administration has made. It is as though the combination of the administration’s own ineptitude and the negative consequences of millions of cancelled plans, lost doctors, and higher costs resulting from the president’s health care law are simply drowned out by self-congratulatory celebrations on the White House lawn. Similarly, President Obama’s charge that criticism of the law is merely political suggests that he believes that the endless parade of delays, bureaucratic foibles, failures, and broken promises are not legitimate grounds for assessment.

The White House and their henchmen continue to attempt to justify and laud Obamacare, but refuse to admit that it just does not work. The exemptions, delays, extensions, and changes handed down from the marble halls of Washington, D.C. grant little more than momentary reprieve to average, hardworking Americans being hurt by this law. President Obama seems to believe that’s good enough, so long as he can give glorified speeches in front of adoring crowds who consume the constant stream of spin.

But proclaiming false victory and neglecting to acknowledge the negative consequences is not good enough. America deserves better than Obamacare. As the dust settles, each modification makes the obvious truth increasingly clear: the only way to save the country from any more of this law’s disastrous effects is to stop thinking about politics, start thinking about people, and fully repeal Obamacare – permanently.

Chougule is a policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy organization.

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