By Jonathan Easley - 03/26/14 12:02 PM EDT
Democrats are pushing back at Republican outrage over the Obama administration’s latest unilateral change to ObamaCare, pointing to instances when President George W. Bush enacted similar extensions to the Medicare prescription drug benefit program.
The links go to a 2006 story about Bush extending an enrollment deadline and waiving penalty fees for some people who signed up late for the program.
It’s the latest in a string of changes to the law that includes delaying the premium payments deadline, delaying the sign-up date for coverage that started Jan. 1, pushing back by six weeks the sign-up date for those seeking coverage by April 1 and delaying the second-year enrollment period until after the 2014 elections.
Republicans said Tuesday’s change was the 19th of its kind.
Many of the early delays were aimed at easing the burden of consumers who might have had trouble accessing HealthCare.gov because the website was largely unusable for the first two months of open enrollment.
But Republicans are furious, calling the extensions “lawless” and saying it’s unfair that some groups have to comply with pre-determined deadlines but not others.
“What the hell is this, a joke?” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) asked at his weekly press conference on Wednesday.
“I’ve got to live by the law, you’ve got to live by the law, and guess what? The president has to live by the law as well,” Boehner concluded before leaving the event.
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer countered that Republicans are only upset because the change means more people will successfully enroll in insurance through ObamaCare.
The reason the GOP is so upset abt allowing people to finish signing up for health care is simple: they want fewer people to sign up— Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44) March 26, 2014
Meantime, the liberal blog Think Progress went with this headline on its coverage of the delay: "Channeling Bush, Obama Extends Deadline For Health Insurance Enrollment."