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HHS Delays Next Obamacare Enrollment Period Until After 2014 Elections

7:20 AM, Nov 22, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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The Obama administration has decided to delay next year's enrollment period for Obamacare to begin after the November midterm elections. Bloomberg reports:

The enrollment period, previously scheduled to begin Oct. 15, 2014, will now start Nov. 15, said an official with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services who asked not to be identified because the decision isn’t public. The change is important to insurers that need more time to evaluate the first year of the government-run marketplaces.

Technical problems are undermining efforts to attract a broad array of customers to the new markets, a prerequisite to keeping plans affordable in the long run. Keeping prices from spiking next year is “absolutely critical” for President Barack Obama if he wants to preserve his signature legislative achievement, said Ana Gupte, a Leerink Swann & Co. analyst.

“The death of this law would be for health insurance companies to price policies for 2015 in a way that premiums skyrocket,” said Gupte, who is based in New York, in a telephone interview. “At that point, it’s a death spiral and it’s over. So he needs to do something.”

Obamacare is looking to be a political liability for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections next year. While Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has said Democrats will run on the benefits of the president's health care law in 2014, some Republican challengers are already saying opposing Obamacare will be the "cornerstone" of their campaigns.

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