Congressional Research Service: Obamacare Has Missed Half of Its Deadlines

by John Fund

If you had an employee who missed half his deadlines, what would you do? Almost certainly fire him. 

Well, the Congressional Research Service has prepared a report showing that the Obama administration has missed half or more of the legal deadlines relating to implementing Obamacare. For now, we can’t fire the Obama administration or retract its assignment, which is the law of the land (as interpreted by a president who decides which parts he’ll enforce and when). But we can reexamine just how big a train wreck this program is going to be.

Avik Roy, an NRO columnist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, obtained a copy of the CRS report. Over at Forbes, he writes that, as of May 31 of this year, “the White House had yet to meet 9 of 12 deadlines from the first year after the Affordable Care Act was enacted. It failed to meet 22 of 53 deadlines in the second year; another 8 became moot after Congress did not appropriate funds to complete the assigned tasks. In year three, the administration missed 10 out of 17 deadlines. That’s a total of 41 out of 82 deadlines missed.”

Some of the missed deadlines involve bureaucratic details, but others are significant, such as a requirement for the Health and Human Services secretary to “develop requirements for health plans to report on their efforts to improve health outcomes.” That one is now 17 months late, with no delivery in sight. ”A number of rules that would safeguard the privacy of medical records have either yet to be developed, or have been meaningfully tardy in their arrival,” Roy reports.

All of this portends a rough rollout of the health-care exchanges that are supposed to go online in less than six weeks, providing the uninsured and those on the individual market the opportunity to buy insurance. 

The Obama administration’s haphazard approach to implementation has already had some of those state-level implementers expressing displeasure. Kevin Counihan, chairman of Connecticut’s insurance exchange, is beyond frustrated, telling the AP in March, “Sometimes it feels like we’re driving a car and then changing the tire at the same time.”

“We’re going to have a challenging enough time providing the quality of service that our residents deserve in Connecticut with the deadline that we have,” he said. ”If they keep adding new regulations, I’m sorry. We have to suddenly say, ‘enough is enough.’” 

My sentiments exactly. Unfortunately, the only way the American people can say “enough is enough” is through the ballot box. The next midterm election is now 14 months away, and by then we will have an even better idea of the chaos that looms for Obamacare’s implementation. Here’s hoping people will pay attention.

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