Democratic senator asks Obama to delay Obamacare deadline
October 22nd, 2013
11:05 PM ET
6 months ago

Democratic senator asks Obama to delay Obamacare deadline

Washington (CNN) - New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen joins the growing ranks of Republicans asking the President to extend open enrollment under Obamacare. The only difference is that she is a Democrat.

In an open letter to President Obama, Shaheen says because of the problems affecting HealthCare.gov, the administration should push back the deadline and lift the penalty for those who are uninsured. The law currently stipulates that enrollment in the Obamacare insurance exchanges ends March 31, 2014, and that those who are uninsured after that point will be fined by the Internal Revenue Service.


"As website glitches persist, we are losing valuable time to educate and enroll people in insurance plans," writes Shaheen. "I also fear that people that have tried, and failed, to enroll online may become frustrated and not return to the website to try again at a later date. ... Allowing extra time for consumers is critically important so they have the opportunity to become familiar with the website, survey their options and enroll."

"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."

Jay Carney: Site glitches may excuse those without insurance from penalty next spring

Shaheen may be the first Democrat to make the argument, but several Republicans have already weighed in on this debate. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, announced Tuesday morning that he will introduce such legislation when the Senate reconvenes next week.

"It's not fair to punish people for not buying something that's not available," he said on CBS' "This Morning."

In the House, Rep. Trey Radel, R-Florida, will bring similar legislation to the floor.

"HealthCare.gov and its Spanish counterpart, where you can shop for health insurance, is completely unusable," he said in a news release Tuesday. "This bill delays the Obamacare fine on you and your family until you can actually sign up for health coverage, a common sense concept lost on an administration determined to force this law on you at any cost.”

Shaheen is no turncoat in the war over Obamacare. Her letter offers high praise of - and some patient frustration with - the law.

After highlighting many of the law's advantages, she writes, "Ultimately, however, we must do better. As you continue to fix problems with the website and the enrollment process, it is critical that the administration be open to modifications that provide greater flexibility for the American people seeking to access health insurance – extending the open enrollment period and clarification on the enforcement and administration of the individual responsibility penalty would be a great start."

–CNN's Kevin Bohn, Ashley Killough, and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


Filed under: Jeanne Shaheen • Obamacare
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. S. B. Stein

    Maybe the penalty should be delayed and the open enrollment period be extended. That should be the option that people have.

    October 22, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  2. Larry in Houston

    probably wouldn't hurt if they extended it for at least a year, this way, it gives everyone a chance, and it would treat everyone the same, as far as getting on, or signing up.

    October 22, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  3. Thomas

    The administration should push back the deadline and lift the penalty for those who are uninsured.

    As long as people can keep signing up , extent it to June 1st

    October 23, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  4. Thomas

    As long as there isn't another Government shut down !

    October 23, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  5. J.V.Hodgson

    My god this is not reporting its talking points and anything to pick up what is divisive along party lines from this single democrat.
    Rubio ," Its not fair to punish people for something that's not available" this gets nowhere near a fact check
    1) 11 states are doing ok thanks including California with a big population especially young reasonably Ok uninsured
    2) You can call in direct to register, you can also go to a local area and discuss one on one how to do it/ register
    3) Some have succeeded via the web site ( where possibly most will register longer term) and it will be another 4/5 weeks before its running better and will still leave 4 months for people to apply.
    The 7M target people registering is easily achievable and a computer website glitch has nothing to do with the laws validity.
    PS Sibelius as HHS secretary Is clearly no computer expert, neither are most CEO's of say GM or Major banks.
    In the corporate environment the IT director might get fired but not the CEO.
    Republicans shooting at the wrong thing again!!
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    October 23, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  6. Mark

    Fist, she is NOT a “Democratic” Senator; she’s a Democrat.

    Second, there are NO “glitches,” there is only unmitigated failure.

    Third, Why is suddenly NOT racist to want to delay Obamacare?

    Fourth, Will the media, finally admit they were wrong (or lied) about Sens. Cruz & Lee? Will they finally expose the hate that was heaped upon these men who stood up, unlike CNN, to Obama?

    Fifth, will the media, finally, do it’s job, and take on the President? Maybe actually vet him or his programs? is that too much to ask for?

    Sadly, I think ALL of it is beyond the Obama media. Truth is unimportant to them. They only want to run the fantasy.

    October 23, 2013 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  7. Harold Richards

    But it is "the Law of the Land" and must be followed (unless you are or work for Congress, member of.a Union, contributed significantly to Obama's campaign or fundraising, part of a special interest group, etc.). The law was signed into effect and upheld by the Supreme Court.

    October 23, 2013 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  8. Doyle Wiley, MI

    The website is not the only way to obtain the insurance. Try using the phone number 1-800-318-2596.

    October 23, 2013 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  9. A True Conservative

    How dare she do this!! The nasty, evil, America hating Republicans and those disgusting Tea Party people asked for this same thing – how could a Democrat sk for a delay??? Doesn't she know that everything is fine and that the ACA is what this country so desperately needs? Doesn't she know that it won't destroy healthcare in this country while bankrupting the nation? (Which is already bankrupt thanks to the unfunded liabilities of social security and medicare – two other Democrat children.....)

    October 23, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  10. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    But... but...
    OBAMA CARE MUST GO FORWARD

    Remember...
    OBAMA CARE is a MUST for thee
    but
    NOT for "ME"

    NOT "ME"
    NOT "MY" White House Staff
    NOT "MY" White House Czar's

    TRUST "ME"
    It's GREAT !!!

    October 23, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  11. Tom

    I hope this woman has her taxes in order. I believe the IRS will be paying her a visit.

    October 23, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  12. Evergreen

    In 2014, the GOP should run on against the..." Website Glitches." After all, running against Obamacare worked out well for Mr. Romney. These people in Congress can't do their own jobs but are always trying to tell the President how to do his. Just a few months among the President avoided a possible WW3. I think he can decide if or when to extend the deadline.

    October 23, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    Nothing wrong–computer glitch can be fixed. Do not play drama.

    October 23, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |