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Blog: Laying Down the L.A.W: Sputtering Rollout Fuels Dem Support for ObamaCare Delay

Even the president's Democratic allies are losing faith in the White House's ability to manage the president's health care law in the wake of its sputtering rollout. Just weeks after blasting Republicans for demanding fairness for all Americans under ObamaCare, several Democrats are now calling for changes to the law, including a delay in the individual mandate. Here's more:

Rep. John Barrow (D-GA): "I urge my colleagues and the Administration to delay the individual mandate. It's not only the right thing to do, it's the only practical thing to do." (Floor Remarks, 10/23/13)
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA): "Rep. Gerry Connolly (D., Va.) said that the administration might need to waive the penalties if the federal website problems persist. "We've got to be fair to consumers here,' he said Wednesday.'" (Wall Street Journal, 10/24/13)
Rep. Gene Green (D-TX): "Rep. Gene Green (D., Texas) said the law allows the White House to waive penalties, and if technology problems are protracted, it should act. "I think the administration is going to have to look at it, and I'd encourage them to do so,' he said." (Wall Street Journal, 10/24/13)
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ): ""If the problems are intense as they are this morning, then maybe we would have to consider a short delay in terms of the individual mandate,' New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell, a member of the Health subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee, said on Wednesday." (Yahoo News, 10/23/13)
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD): ""It's not about the time, it's about getting it right,' says Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). "And then you can look to see whether it needs to be a month delay or a two month delay, or whatever.'" (Time, 10/24/13)
Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK): "Sen. Mark Begich (D., Alaska), who is up for re-election in 2014, said Wednesday that individuals shouldn't be penalized if technical issues with the HealthCare.gov website aren't resolved." (Wall Street Journal, 10/24/13)
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): "Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va….is working on a bill to delay the individual mandate by a year, his office confirmed Wednesday. … "He believes that this year should be a transition year and the penalty should not be imposed. ... Manchin spokesman Jonathan Kott said in an emailed statement." (Roll Call, 10/23/13)
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR): "Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said he supports the "common-sense idea' for an extension beyond the March 31, 2014, deadline as suggested by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in a letter to President Obama. "In addition, the administration should state clearly how the enforcement mechanism will work if people can't sign up in time.'" (USA Today, 10/23/13)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): "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." (CNN, 10/22/13)

The administration made another tacit admission yesterday that the president's health care law is not ready for prime time, extending the enrollment period by six weeks under which Americans will face no penalty amid the myriad problems that continue plaguing its rollout. But the administration still plans to tax and penalize Americans who don't sign up for health care from a website and enrollment system that isn't working effectively. Shouldn't the American people receive the same break big businesses received from this administration?

From the hundreds of thousands of cancelation notices to the reduced work hours and skyrocketing premiums, Americans are already suffering under the president's deeply-flawed health care law. Adding to that a penalty for not purchasing a product from a system the White House failed to make accurate and accessible is not only unfair, it's absurd. It's heartening that several Democrats are willing to acknowledge that; the White House should do the same and give every American the same relief from the law that the president gave big businesses and insurance companies. It's a matter of basic fairness.


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