March 26th, 2014
01:20 PM ET
6 months ago

Boehner rips latest Obamacare extension: 'What the hell is this, a joke?'

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner ripped a decision to extend the March 31 Obamacare enrollment deadline for some people who have not finished signing up.

"What the hell is this, a joke?" he said on Wednesday of the Obama administration’s latest change in carrying out the politically charged health law.

The deadline for individuals to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is Monday. Those Americans without health coverage of any kind after the deadline will have to pay a penalty.

But late Tuesday the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Obamacare, announced that it will give more time to people who try to apply through the federal marketplace by Monday but encounter difficulty.

Administration officials said the move, similar to the one in December for the large number of people who were trying to meet a separate January 1 enrollment deadline, will accommodate people who face special circumstances or complex cases and need extra time to complete their enrollment.

At his weekly news conference, Boehner pounced on the latest tweak to the law.

"Last night brought us yet another delay of Obamacare, another deadline made meaningless. As if he (President Barack Obama) hasn't put enough loopholes into the law already, the administration now resorting to an honor system to enforce it," Boehner said.

The administration argues that heavy demand prompted the change.

"The law is the law. Consumers need to know the deadline is March 31. But just like on Election Day, if you are in line when we close, you get to enroll. We're experiencing near-record volume and the site, and we're not going to turn people away who tried and couldn't complete their enrollment. This is about helping people who want to get health insurance," said HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters.

But Boehner said this week’s move is "part of a long term pattern of this administration manipulating the laws for its own convenience.”

Pointing out that Democrats passed Obamacare without any Republican support, the speaker said they need to stand by their own law.

"The law says that enrollment stops at the end of March. That's what the law says. I've got to live by the law, you've got to live by the law, the American people have got to live by the law and guess what? The President needs to live by the law as well."

The Republican-led House chamber has passed dozens of bills aimed at repealing or altering Obama's signature health law over the past three years. Republicans have also made Obamacare a campaign theme against Democrats in this year’s midterm elections.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fired back at Boehner and House Republicans, saying millions will get health coverage who otherwise wouldn't have it.

"And the joke, I say to my dear friend John Boehner, is him - having more than 60 votes over there to terminate Obamacare," Reid said.

"I just think that we're at a point now where it really does appear to be extremely disingenuous and they oppose anything that's good about Obamacare. Anything good about, anything good this administration tries to do," he said.

– CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report


Filed under: Health care • Healthcare • John Boehner • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Gary

    how does he abide by the law, isn't he exempt?

    March 26, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Denying people healthcare is what you get when you have domestic terrorists in charge of the House of Representatives.

    March 26, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    @Malory Archer
    Fair is Fair

    The Dems read the law. crybaby and his ilk REFUSED TO EVEN SHOW UP AT THE HEARINGS. Nancy Pelosi told them that if they didn't want to participate they would have to wait until the law was passed to see what was in it. Truth hurts, but it is what it is, and no matter how many times you post Nancy Pelosi's comment without context, someone here will set the record straight.
    -----------
    "Context" is such a hard term to understand for the conspiracy theory right wingers out there.
    Next on Fox News: Pelosi says "...the...". Obama must be a dictator.

    March 26, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Can we all agree to celebrate that we now have over 290 million Americans insured, that the rate of uninsured is the lowest in years, and all this without a single republican vote? Can we also celebrate that 2 million red staters get to keep their junk policies for another year?

    March 26, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Joe

    Republicans are a joke.

    March 26, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. rs

    No, sir. The joke is the least effective Congress in American History. One with no legislative agenda; no solutions and no fixes for their past blunders. No, the joke is holding 54 "symbolic" votes to strip Americans of affordable health care insurance without a plan of what to do afterwards.

    March 26, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    We now have 290 million insured Americans who won't be showing up at emergency rooms uninsured and passing the bill onto the rest of us, as they are paying their own way.

    March 26, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. rs

    Redistribution at it finest, just like Obama said he would do.
    _____________________________
    For people too slow to understand what is really happening-here's a question:
    If the duly elected President of the United States is "redistributing" wealth, please explain why we now have the greatest number of millionaires and billionaires than at any time in our history? Further, please explain why the top 5% of wage earners own nearly 95% of the tangible wealth in our nation? Clearly, the redistribution you rail against is simply another GOP myth.

    March 26, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Tom

    No, the joke is Speaker Boehner's allowing a ridiculous 50 votes to repeal the ACA. President Obama stated initially (and correctly) that modifications would be necessary but the important thing was to get a health care program in place. Social Security and Medicare faced similar problems/opposition and yet, most Americans consider both programs as essential-despite Ronald Reagan's assertion that Medicare would lead to Socialism. Sound familiar?

    March 26, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. william reed

    Boehner IS the joke. So are his fellow Repubs in Congress. They haven't progressed beyond "No" on any issue. And they expect to sweep into power in both houses of Congress in mid-term elections. Go figure.

    March 26, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. gobsmacked

    Seems to me the only reason to complain about extending the deadline for those unable to complete an already-started sign-up before the deadline is sour grapes and a continued hope for failure. There is no practical reason to be hard-nosed about it. Look back at all the concessions made when Medicare was just getting off the ground.

    March 26, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. Name LT Worker

    I think there are 30 million uninsureds in line that's why it's taking so long

    March 26, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. rs

    spike

    I think this is the 28th change Obama has unilaterally made to the law. So much for the libs argument that the law is the law. The law is the law until the dictator says it is not.
    _____________________
    Ever hear of the Code of Federal Regulations? Regulations change all the time- it is a process done within the Executive Branch agencies all the time (and HHS is part of the Executive Branch) – all without the meddling input of Congress. Take a Civics class.

    March 26, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. sonny chapman

    It's not hard to understand John; Obama is trying to make it WORK & you're trying to DESTROY it.

    March 26, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. rs

    Tampa Tim

    We now have 290 million insured Americans who won't be showing up at emergency rooms uninsured and passing the bill onto the rest of us, as they are paying their own way.
    __________________
    Just the way the GOP (and their handlers at the Heritage Foundation) wanted before they were against it.

    March 26, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Mike

    Oppose, oppose, oppose, then criticize. Offer no solutions, then criticize. Hey moron, do something to earn your bloated pay!

    March 26, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. Pat

    Yeah, is this a JOKE?
    Our mind should be on voter suppression!
    These people want health insurance and be able to vote.
    What do they think this is, American?

    March 26, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Tampa Tim

    Fair – Certainly someone of your intelligence would know that those who have pre existing conditions can now be insured is good, isn't it?
    -------
    It most certainly is, Tim. There are several "goodies" in the law. Those goodies come with a cost.

    Take the pre-existing conditions one. Have you ever tried to insure a car that comes with pre-existing damage and expect your car insurance to fix it? The underwriting of the policy had to change, resulting in generally higher premiums.

    Removal of lifetime caps is a good thing too. But that too required underwritting changes, because that too comes with a cost – resulting in higher premiums.

    The ability of keeping dependents on to 26 is debateable. Used to be 22 if they were attending college. But you know, it's this key demographic that the exchanges are seeking to keep them afloat. Why would they buy on their own if they can stay with their parents at no cost? Again, NOT having these people in the exchanges is diluting the pool with older and sicker – generally resulting in higher premiums.

    There's really not much out there that puts the "affordable" in the ACA. You're going to find anecdotal evidence of people who it's helped and just as much who it hurts. And really, that's just taking from one group and giving to another, no matter which way you look at it.

    March 26, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    "And the joke, I say to my dear friend John Boehner, is him – having more than 60 votes over there to terminate Obamacare."
    ----------------------------------–
    Ooooooo!!! That was below the belt Harry. Poor John is going to go to his office and cry because the law is working and you hurt him fragile sensibility. 60 votes for repeal of Obamacare but no vote on immigration reform or a jobs bill.

    March 26, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Alex

    Malory Archer:

    @Fair is Fair

    The Dems read the law. crybaby and his ilk REFUSED TO EVEN SHOW UP AT THE HEARINGS. Nancy Pelosi told them that if they didn't want to participate they would have to wait until the law was passed to see what was in it. Truth hurts, but it is what it is, and no matter how many times you post Nancy Pelosi's comment without context, someone here will set the record straight.
    _______________________________
    I'm posting this comment again because it is SPOT ON and deserves re-posting. The republicans actually complained the bill was too long to read. Nancy said they will have to wait until it's passed to see what's in it because repubs were complaining that it had too many pages and was too long to read!!!! She new they were a bunch of illiterates, hence the comment.

    March 26, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. SMITVICT

    The ACA is the law of the land when republicans ask for a delay. The ACA is subject to any executive order desired my Obama if democrats ask for a delay. Yes,, we now have this straight.

    March 26, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. destroyerofeconomies

    I will be so glad when liberals get devastated this november.I also love that this "law" will hurt democrats in general for YEARS!

    March 26, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Mark

    Well, the real joke will be when the American People go and vote. Just like here in Canada... Rhetoric almost always wins. The no solution congress have done nothing for the American People.. and yet it will be interesting how many will vote for these Republicans... I had a hell of a conversation with one of my colleagues who is American, and even though all of these Republicans always mention Ronald Reagan in their platform speaches... Ronald Reagan would not be in the picture today because of the Extreme Right Agenda. How many of these "Fine Republicans" would Ronald Reagan vote for is the real question!!

    March 26, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. Tampa Tim

    John better schedule a 53, or is it 54, vote to repeal Obamacare before everyone has insurance. By the way, I just heard that the GOP will soon come out with a plan that will allow people to buy insurance across state lines, nothing else is in the plan, but the tea party is still opposed. Will we get to see more of that famous Boehner leadership?

    March 26, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. What?

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Palin, Bachman, Scott, Cruz, Perry, What the Hell is this a Joke?

    March 26, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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