The Obama administration has 12 days to deliver on its promise to fix healthcare.gov by the end of November, just in time for people to shop for health plans that will take effect on January 1. What does Obama plan on doing if the site remains broken?
Some Democrats wish to extend the open-enrollment period past March 31 and delay the penalties Americans will face, $95 or 1 percent of income, for not having insurance in 2014. Their reasoning is pretty straightforward: If the balky website hinders people who wish to get covered, it isn’t fair to penalize them for that.
Don’t count on a delay. The White House doesn’t want to hand opponents a political victory, and delaying the mandate will do that.
If delaying the mandate is off the table, then what are the options? The idea emerging this week is to bypass healthcare.gov entirely. Insurance agents already know how to enroll people. Healthcare.gov and the state exchanges are meant to serve two main purposes: 1) Allow consumers to compare plans in one place, and 2) calculate subsidies for those with modest incomes and get those subsidy payments to the insurance carriers.
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