However, no matter what your opinion of the (Un)Affordable Care Act, as The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff has pointed out, the Oct. 1 deadline is actually completely arbitrary—it never once shows up in the text of the legislation. In fact, the actual launch date is Jan. 1, the day the individual mandate and any purchased plans will go into effect.
So why all the hubbub over Oct. 1? Well, because October through December is being used as a “soft launch” to “sort out the kinks.” However, this, like everything else in ObamaCare, has its problems:
One big unknown for states is how many people will head to the marketplace during this soft launch phase. Numerous consumer marketing campaigns are underway, and there will no doubt be copious media coverage when the switch gets flipped on the first of October.
At the same time, there’s little financial incentive to buy coverage in October that won’t take effect in January. Some experts I’ve interviewed expect that there won’t be heavy take-up until January, or even March of next year, when the individual mandate is in effect and open enrollment nears its end. It’s hard to know because the country has never done something like this before.
Why would anyone buy health coverage on Oct. 1 that doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1? Especially if said health coverage is completely overpriced and not tailored to fit their needs?
Republicans have been counting down the doomsday clock until Oct. 1, proclaiming that if we can’t defeat ObamaCare by then, then we’re just going to have to live with it. Maybe, just maybe, that isn’t the case.