A health policy analyst says now that there's precedent for it, she wouldn't be surprised to see more special sign-up periods for ObamaCare – particularly with another election just around the corner.
The federal government now requires virtually everyone in the U.S. to have some form of health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The Obama administration is currently offering a special sign-up opportunity for people facing tax penalties this year to avoid fines next year. The period runs through April 30.
In February, House Democrats began pushing the Obama administration to announce a special sign-up period, claiming people aren't aware of tax penalties and deserve a second chance. In response, Republicans and ObamaCare critics have accused Democrats of trying to lessen the blow of the Affordable Care Act.
Hadley Heath Manning of the Independent Women's Forum suggests Americans might see more special sign-up opportunities in the future. "Now that there is precedent for it, I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen every year, that we have a special sign-up period around tax-filing season – especially going into an election year," she adds.
The Obama administration and other Democrats on Capitol Hill point to the number of people enrolled in health insurance coverage as evidence of ObamaCare's success and popularity. Manning thinks they ought to be looking at a better metric.
"Which is: How many more people have real access to healthcare that they didn't have before – and did ObamaCare get us there through a means that was least harmful to the rest of the country?"
According to Manning, some people went from having a private plan to a subsidized plan, while others went from having no health coverage to having Medicaid.
"This comes at great cost to taxpayers and also our healthcare system," she explains, "because of the effect that these regulations and mandates are having on individual families and on the cost that they face and the access that they face when it comes to their own healthcare."
One big issue at the moment is getting people eligible for this special sign-up opportunity to enroll in health insurance. Of the estimated four million people who are eligible, the Obama administration said last week that the number of enrollees was in the tens of thousands.