The Obama administration pushed back another Obamacare deadline Friday, giving consumers an extra week to sign up for coverage that begins on Jan. 1.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Friday that the sign-up date for coverage to begin Jan. 1 will be moved from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23. The final deadline to sign up isn’t until March.
Some stakeholders have speculated that CMS might delay the March 31 enrollment cutoff, giving consumers more time to sign up because the problems with HealthCare.gov effectively shaved off one month from the enrollment window. CMS Communications Director Julie Bataille said CMS is not considering that option “at this time.”
Extending the Dec. 15 deadline to Dec. 23 will squeeze insurance companies, who are still grappling with bad information coming from the back end of HealthCare.gov.
“It makes it more challenging to process enrollments in time for coverage to begin on Jan. 1. Ultimately it will depend on how many people enroll in those last few days,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans.
The change was made “in consultation with” the insurance industry, Bataille said.
The ongoing problems with HealthCare.gov have prevented many from enrolling in coverage, and the short time frame before the original Dec. 15 deadline raised concerns about people having enough time to get on the site and successfully find a plan. The extension to Dec. 23 could indicate a lack of confidence that the website will be fully functional by the end of November.
The administration has set the end of November as the goal to have the federal online exchange working smoothly for the “vast majority of users,” which was later clarified to mean 80 percent of consumers. Yet there have been doubts recently as to whether that deadline will be met.
Jeff Zients, the former White House budget director who is coordinating the HealthCare.gov repair effort, told reporters that CMS is “on track” to meet its goals for the end of November. By the end of the month, the site will be able to handle 50,000 users at once — the goal it was supposed to meet when it launched, Zients said.
When more than 50,000 people try to use the site at once, and the site can’t handle it, users will be able to request an email telling them when it’s OK to try again, Zients said.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”