Just two weeks ago during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, Kathleen Sebelius assured Representative Kevin Brady that the administration would not be extending its deadline on the federal enrollment period. Now that the administration has reneged on that guarantee by allowing some to enroll past March 31, the Texas Republican said he frankly isn’t too shocked.
“No, unfortunately, seems to be business as usual,” Brady told National Review online when asked if he was surprised by the most recent delay. “It is hard to rely on the secretary’s word in any of these hearings.”
Sebelius has been accused of repeatedly misleading Congress in recent months, including over problems facing the HealthCare.gov website, in denying the administration’s enrollment goals had not been met, and about what information her department has regarding who has paid for a policy.
This delay, which would allow users to “self-attest” to needing more time past the March 31 deadline, is just the latest in what Brady sees as part of an effort to increase the program’s enrollment figures, which are short of projections. “I think they’re anxious to get their enrollment numbers bumped up, however it may be,” he said.
At this point, among the other delays and modifications to the controversial health-care law, Brady explained that addressing or preventing this specific extension is not likely, particularly because it will essentially go into effect in just a few days. Instead, he said Republicans will turn their focus to forcing the administration to reveal the “actual” enrollment numbers — those who have paid for a plan, not just signed up on the exchange.
“We know they’re getting it,” he said.