Debate Over Delaying Individual Mandate Grows Louder
Senators Request Delay
The AHIP and AAA letter comes as a growing number of lawmakers in both parties call on the Obama administration to take some sort of action to alleviate the bungled rollout of the health insurance exchanges. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has asked the White House to "extend the open enrollment period past March 31, 2014 to give Americans more time to obtain coverage."
"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," Shaheen said. Ten senators, all Democrats, signed Shaheen's letter.
So far, the Obama Administration has rejected calls to significantly modify critical deadlines for the law.
"Delaying the Affordable Care Act wouldn't delay people's cancer or diabetes or Parkinson," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Senate Finance Committee last week. "It doesn't delay the higher cost all of us pay when uninsured Americans are left with no choice but to rely on emergency rooms for care. So, for millions of Americans, delay is not an option."
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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