Senators Joe Manchin (D-WVA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have joined with Republican colleagues in calling for a delay for key provisions of the President’s health care law in light of the severe glitches with the launch of its website this month.
“My goal is to fix the Affordable Care Act to make sure that people can get that access,” Shaheen stated during a recent appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“The rollout of the marketplace has been a disaster because so many people have been thwarted by technological snafus as they try to view plan options and prices to enroll in coverage. With a month of open enrollment nearly over, it is only fair to extend the period.”
The Obama administration, however, has (so far) rejected calls to extend any deadlines, insisting that any problems would be fixed by the end of November, giving the public 4 months to obtain an insurance plan before any penalties might kick-in. In addition, the insurers, themselves, are fighting against delays in the mandate since they have already set their premium prices for next year under the assumption that “large numbers of young and healthy individuals (who are cheap to insure) would be compelled to join their patient pools by the law.”
While Republicans contend that the enrollment disaster is symptomatic of greater issues with the law and that “many of the disadvantages of the program are becoming glaringly apparent now that people can see that the quality and cost of coverage under the law is not quite what they expected,” both Manchin and Shaheen have declined to join them in calling for the resignation of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
“There is going to be plenty of time to place blame on who is responsible,” commented Shaheen. “The main focus now should be on remedying the situation.”