• Call for Extension of Deadline to Sign Up for Health Care

    Call for Extension of Deadline to Sign Up for Health Care

    By Dr. Kenneth Rothaus

    Many of the news media have reported on an effort by Senate Democrats to extend the deadline for signing up for health care which passed at midnight on Sunday February 15th.   The reasons given include both those with some validity and those that appear, at least somewhat, political. The former include:

    • people may not realize the penalties they will have to pay for failure to obtain health insurance until they file their taxes for 2014 on April 15th, and
    • they should not be responsible for problems that continue to exist with the website.

    According to the New York Times, from the political perspective, the extension would accomplish the following:

    • Reduce the number of people subject to tax penalties and, thus, decrease anger towards the White House and the Democrats over the Affordable, Care Act,
    • Increase the number of people insured under the ACA which remains an important goal of the Obama administration, and
    • by increasing the number of people insured and receiving subsidies under the ACA, it would put pressure on the Supreme Court when it decides on King v. Burwell this June (See our earlier blog comments in HospitalSmarts.com) not to rule against the administration and the ACA.

    The time of the deadline, and the penalties under the ACA for failure to act have been known and well publicized for a long time. There are many other deadlines imposed upon us by the government, not the least of which is paying our income taxes. If we fail to do so, there are penalties. Obviously, the issue being discussed here is somewhat different in that it also involves obtaining one’s health insurance.

    Nevertheless, do you think the executive branch of the Federal government should be allowed to extend this deadline or should it follow the letter of the law?

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