There are reports tonight that the Obama administration is milling the idea of delaying the individual mandate by up to six weeks.
Brian Williams led with the story on NBC Nightly News:
There’s just one problem with this. Without an act of Congress, delaying the enrollment date required by the individual mandate is against the law. It’s written into the Affordable Care Act itself.
from Washington Examiner:
Even if Obama wanted to extend the open enrollment period, he wouldn’t be allowed to without an act of Congress — at least if he wants to follow the law he signed.
Though the health care law granted the Secretary of Health and Human Services discretion to define dates for the open enrollment period to occur each year, it also specified that the initial enrollment period (i.e. the current one) had to be announced by July 1, 2012.
Specifically, Section 1311 of the healthcare law reads, "ENROLLMENT PERIODS: The Secretary shall require an Exchange to provide for— (A) an initial open enrollment, as determined by the Secretary (such determination to be made not later than July 1, 2012)."
Given that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has already determined that the enrollment period must end on March 31 — and nearly 16 months has passed since she made that determination — extending the period would require an act of Congress to change the law.
read the rest
We are now way past the July 1, 2012 date that required Sibelius to set the enrollment period. The Obama administration cannot change the enrollment period without going to Congress.
And you know what that means….If Obama takes this to Congress, the Conservatives will have all the leverage in the world.