Over the summer, Republicans sought a delay of the ObamaCare individual mandate, and passed a bill to that effect in the House. Of course, in the Reid-controlled Senate, it went nowhere at all.
And during the debate over the CR -- and during the government shutdown -- Obama/Reid insisted that delay of the individual mandate was not negotiable. At all. And the government remained shut down.
But tonight, we learn that scarcely three weeks after refusing to open the government by negotiating at all over the Republican proposal to delay the individual mandate . . . the administration is going to delay the individual mandate by six weeks! Note that -- as with the delay of the employer mandate -- Obama would rather do it by administrative fiat than through the proper legislative process.
Of course, the administration and its supporters are claiming that this isn't really a "delay" of the individual mandate; rather, it's a "tweak" to it, intended to make the date for when the individual mandate kicks in consistent with the deadline for shopping for a policy in the ObamaCare "marketplace." Whether the delay/"tweak" has occurred because even the Obama administration realizes what a train wreck the Healthcare.gov site is -- or whether it simply corrects yet another "glitch" in a terribly-drafted law -- it does mean that the Obama administration has extended the time when the individual mandate is not in effect. That's a delay . . . just 46 weeks less than the "terrorists" and "arsonists" in the GOP sought.
Don't expect much more of this kind of "tweaking," however. Even if the Healthcare.gov site continues to malfunction and people really can't buy insurance online, chances are there will be no more delays. The problem for the administration in delaying the ObamaCare individual mandate much longer is this: If everyone isn't required to buy insurance by the end of March, then only the sickest or oldest or otherwise most expensive patients will enter the pool -- accelerating the insurance "death spiral." Keep in mind, however, that since young, healthy people will find it cheaper to pay a penalty and remain uninsured until they are sick and expensive patients (who can't be denied coverage because of a "preexisting condition"), there's still no guarantee the "death spiral" won't happen anyway.
Every day, the poor design of the law -- and the Obama administration's high-handed impulses in administering it -- become ever clearer.
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