Feds Grant Massachusetts Extra Year to Complete Obamacare Transition



After former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signed the state's 2006 health care overhaul into law, he said on multiple occasions that the state's system, which included an insurance mandate, preexisting conditions rules, an expansion of Medicaid eligibility, and a government-run insurance exchange, was intended as a model for the nation.

A few years later, in 2010, President Barack Obama would sign a nation law into place that included all of those elements and that, according to the administration, had been modeled at least in part on the Massachusetts system.

Four years after that, when Obama's exchanges went online, Massachusetts was one of the states that had the hardest time making the transition—this despite more than $135 million worth of federal grants intended to help the state build and manage a new, Obamacare-compliant exchange. 

Like Maryland and Oregon, the state was a recipient of an "early innovator" grant intended for states that were especially enthusiastic about implementing the health law and wanted to produce exchange technology that other states could emulate. And like Maryland and Oregon, Massachusetts ended up with an exchange that, for all practical purposes, simply didn't work. By the middle of March, the state had a massive backlog of unprocessed insurance applications—a backlog it only cleared by extending "transitional" insurance to the applicants, which is a gentle way of saying it stuck most of those folks in Medicaid until its exchange troubles were sorted out. 

That could be a while. The state is hoping—fingers crossed!—to have a "functional" health exchange by this fall, when the next open enrollment period begins. But "functional" doesn't mean complete. "We are not going to have everything we want for the fall," Sarah Iselin, who is overseeing the repair work, told Boston.com earlier this month. 

Indeed, it appears that some of the features won't be ready until 2017. The Obama adminstration announced yesterday that it would give the state an additional year to comply with some of the particulars of Obamacare's insurance regulations. Via MassLive.com

Massachusetts has been given an additional year to transition to a new system under the Affordable Care Act that would change the way insurance carriers calculate premiums for Massachusetts businesses and potentially drive up the cost for many employers.

Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius granted the additional year to complete the transition to new premium rating factors on Thursday after previous requests from the governor for a complete waiver were not granted. 

This follows yesterday's news that the administration would likely take over Oregon's failed exchange. 

NEXT: That Tracking Beacon You Call a Cell Phone At Issue in Florida Case

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. All these exceptions and arbitrary decisions, many of which are not in the enabling legislation. . .not sure how this law is going to continue to exist without many, many lawsuits.

    1. Yes, but it will be the new President’s problem, so… Mission Accomplished! And if they try to throw it back on the current president, they’re obviously racist scum.

      1. For once, I think an abomination might actually get repealed. This is just too fucked up.

    2. …”not sure how this law is going to continue to exist without many, many lawsuits.”

      Can’t remember the name for the phenom, but it’s the same reason no one sues over ethanol.
      It costs each taxpayer an amount less than what it costs to sue, and it rewards the slimy politicos more.
      Who is going to organize the taxpayers? Not me; I’m trying to make a living.

      1. Oh, and bootlickers like shreek and Tony rely on it.

      2. Diffuse costs and concentrated benefits.

    3. Think of the precedent it sets for imperial rule. The Dems like it now but are going to howl like banshees when a Republican does the same.

      I don’t like that I’ll be caught in the middle, but since that’s inevitable without a revolution of some sort, I may as well enjoy the emperors offending each other.

  2. So ObamaCare cannot be questioned or altered because it is the Law of the Land (TM).

    At the same time, the actual effects/requirements of a law such as ObamaCare are not what the text of the law says, they are whatever Obama and Sibelius decide they are.

    Does this not mean that, for all practical purposes, there is no law but Obama’s law?

    1. After he’s out of office, I think he should star in a TV show–Obama’s Law. “Enforcing the law. . .his law.”

      1. *** claps … on the cuffs ***

      2. I was going to say he should star in a Judge Dredd sequel, but I’m not sure. He’d end up as more of the goofy, idiotic Judge Dredd like Stallone than the awesome Karl Urban.

    2. Is Obama’s Law like Obama’s Love, hard and fast?

      1. “Once you go black [‘clandestine’, you racists!], you’ll never go back.”

      2. He suffers from a very sexy learning disability.

    3. “Does this not mean that, for all practical purposes, there is no law but Obama’s law?”

      And so long as congress sits on its hands, yes.

  3. You know what else Maryland, Oregon, and Massachusetts have in common ….

  4. Yet there are still folks out there saying “give it time, it will work” or “people are trying to make it not work so it fails”….it actually does a great job of that on its own. If they would have started a business, sacrificed their savings, house, and so on to start it up, and ran it like the government runs stuff they wouldn’t even be open for an hour before it failed. 300 effing million for Oregon and nothing happened. Not even a sign up.

    Yet we’re told by liberals that nothing would work without government. We’re told this because they never have to put their money where there mouth is and put up everything they own to start a program. Tell them the government will handle the finances and run the business, and they would probably say hell no.

    Omfg.!! Eff these mofos. They should be in effing jail getting the eff effed out of them by Tiny and his effing friends who don’t take no effing shit from no effing body.

  5. Maybe, when they get this done, they can see their way to spend some money on their roads.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.