After a scary 17 days of the government being inactive in October, Capitol Hill is still facing challenges regarding the upcoming fiscal year. A few Democrats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives are asking to delay the enrollment period for ObamaCare.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire wrote President Obama a letter petitioning to postpone the March 31st deadline for open enrollment in the universal healthcare plan. In her letter Sen. Shaheen addressed the glitches users are facing on healthcare.gov, the website where one would go to enroll.
Due to there being errors in transferring information from the applications filled out by hopeful users to the administration, there is a larger time gap between completing a form and its being approved. In the interest of those she represents, Sen. Shaheen wrote: “Further, in light of the difficulties individuals may be having with enrolling through healthcare.gov, I ask that you clarify how the individual responsibility penalty will be administered and enforced. If an individual is unable to purchase health insurance due to technical problems with enrollment, they should not be penalized because of lack of coverage.” Her last point is important; those who have yet to purchase health insurance by the deadline will be fined $95 in 2014, which increases over $200 dollars the following year.
Other Democrats on Capitol Hill are joining Shaheen in refining the Affordable Care Act. Most noticeably, Representative John Barrow from Georgia has asked that the President delay the bill for another full year. Out of practicality, Rep. Barrow spoke on the House floor assuring them that “this is about providing some relief to the folks we represent who are facing serious uncertainty because they’re being forced to buy something that’s just not ready.” His aim may be for retaining the bill, but only if it is revised.
There are also those in red who are asking to scrap the bill entirely and start from scratch. Representative Tom Cotton from Arkansas has been quoted saying that Obamacare is a “disaster of a bill”. His ire might be provoked by the lack of providers available for those he represents, thus “decreas[ing] competition among plans, leading to higher costs, higher premiums, and less consumer choice.” The bill is intended to give recipients a wide variety of coverage and plan options, but it has yet to achieve this end for a good number of Americans.
If representatives from both sides of the aisle agree on postponing Obamacare’s implementation there might be some merit in taking a second look at our nation’s attempt at universal health care.