By Melanie Batley
The Obama administration is expected to announce another delay to the implementation of Affordable Care Act to allow insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet Obamacare’s minimum coverage requirements.
The move would prolong the one-year “keep your plan fix” so as to avoid another wave of health policy cancellations which could hurt Democrats just weeks before the November midterm elections,The Hill reports.
“The cancellations would have created a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day,” The Hill said. “The White House is intent on protecting its allies in the Senate, where Democrats face a battle to keep control of the chamber.”
The fix had been put in place late last year after an uproar erupted when millions of people discovered their existing plans were being cancelled under Obamacare despite the president’s repeated assurances otherwise.
The administration has yet to confirm the policy change, but insurance sources told The Hill that a public announcement would be “imminent.” The newspaper reports that it is unclear how long the extension would be, but one source believed it could last until the end of Obama’s second term and possibly beyond.
This latest move would follow numerous other delays unilaterally decided by the president.
In July, the president announced a one-year delay until 2015 of the employer mandate which would have required businesses to provide health insurance to employees by Jan. 2014 or face a tax penalty.
In February, Obama changed the deadline again, moving it to 2016. The move provoked widespread criticism among Republicans who renewed their criticism that the healthcare law is a “train wreck.”
Veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove commented at the time that the decision was a politically calculated strategy to save Democrats in the run-up to the elections.
“The president didn’t want another avalanche of cancellations before this fall’s midterm election,” Rove said, adding that if millions lose their insurance plans shortly before the election, “the consequences would be disastrous for the president’s popularity, and that of the congressional Democrats who loyally voted for the Affordable Care Act, sight and text unread.”
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