An axiom of humor is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to satirize something that is already ridiculous. Thus, it is hard to think of a humorous way to send up the fact that today the administration extended the deadline for enrollment in ObamaCare for the second consecutive day. As the New York Times reports:
The original deadline was Dec. 15 for people to sign up for coverage that takes effect in January; it was later extended by eight days. On Monday, the White House added a 24-hour grace period, to 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday.
Then on Tuesday, in another bid to expand coverage, the administration provided details of a “special enrollment period” for people who would miss the deadline.
“If you weren’t able to enroll in an insurance plan by Dec. 23 because of problems you had using HealthCare.gov, you still may be able to get coverage that starts Jan. 1,” the administration told visitors to the website. “Even though we have passed the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1, we don’t want you to miss out if you’ve been trying to enroll.
Though the administration claimed the new deadlines were the result of heavy traffic on the infamous HealthCare.gov website, the real reasons for the changes are very different from the upbeat spin being fed to the media. With the figures for enrollment in ObamaCare only a fraction of not only what they originally predicted but also falling far short of the volume needed for the scheme to be economically viable, the administration is desperate to pump them up by any means necessary.
Saving face is obviously at the core of the decision-making process with regard to the deadlines. Even if the website is more functional today than it was after the disastrous rollout of the new law, the problems at the national level as well as with some of the state exchanges are undermining the faith of Democrats that somehow the president’s signature legislation will prove popular. In order to maintain that faith, they need to try to somehow inflate the total number of those enrolled in the plans.
One by one the administration has set back the implementation of various aspects of ObamaCare. As we noted here on Friday, the pileup of postponements has given the impression that this big-government scheme is unraveling. Indeed, every such announcement adds to the notion that what is happening is not just a delay but a de facto repeal of the law, piece by ungainly piece.
The problem with ObamaCare isn’t the website or even the looming deadlines that cannot be extended indefinitely. Even when people log on to the website what they find are not the high-quality and affordable insurance they were promised by the president and his cheerleaders but plans with high deductibles that often force consumers to purchase coverage they don’t need or want. With millions of Americans being forced off their plans by the various ObamaCare mandates and with those who are compelled to purchase the new plans encountering sticker shock, optimistic liberals who are hoping for an end to the negative stories and bad feedback are in for a shock.
The deadline shifts were a sign of desperation on the part of an administration that knows it has committed itself to an ongoing fiasco. What will follow in 2014 as more Americans realize what the president has saddled them with will be far worse.