Democrats Growing Uneasy With Obamacare Rollout

Joe Manchin arrives at the Old Senate Chambers for his swearing in by Vice President Joe Biden on Monday, November 15, 2010.
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
See more stories about...
Elahe Izadi
Oct. 23, 2013, 12:47 p.m.

Prob­lems with the Obama­care in­sur­ance ex­changes web­site have caused some Demo­crats to call for changes to the pres­id­ent’s sig­na­ture law.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is work­ing on a bill delay­ing for one year the $95 pen­alty for those who don’t pur­chase health in­sur­ance, ac­cord­ing to a Sen­ate aide. The pen­alty is in­ten­ded to be the en­force­ment mech­an­ism be­hind the in­di­vidu­al man­date. Manchin’s bill will dif­fer from a meas­ure com­ing from Sen. Marco Ru­bio, R-Fla., a vo­cal Obama­care op­pon­ent, that would delay the in­di­vidu­al man­date un­til six months after the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice cer­ti­fies that Health­Care.gov is fully func­tion­al.

It’s no sur­prise that Manchin would sup­port a delay in the pen­alty; in Septem­ber, he said at a Bloomberg Gov­ern­ment break­fast that he could back a con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion that in­cluded a one-year delay of the in­di­vidu­al man­date. “There’s no way I could not vote for it,” Manchin said at the time. “It’s very reas­on­able and sens­ible.” He later voted with Demo­crats to fund the gov­ern­ment without a delay in the health care law, say­ing in a state­ment, “I do not be­lieve we should hold our gov­ern­ment host­age while we work through the health care law.”

Not all Demo­crats are ask­ing for a delay. An­oth­er op­tion is to ex­tend the open-en­roll­ment peri­od bey­ond March 31, 2014, which is what Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., urged in a let­ter Tues­day to Pres­id­ent Obama. She also wrote that be­cause of the prob­lems with the web­site, “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.”

An Obama­care sup­port­er, Sen. Bill Nel­son, D-Fla., told re­port­ers in his Tampa of­fice on Wed­nes­day that prob­lems with the health care web­site are “in­ex­cus­able” and “some­body ought to get fired” over them, ac­cord­ing to his of­fice. But his of­fice said that the sen­at­or “de­clined to place blame on any one in­di­vidu­al, agency or com­pany for prob­lems with the web­site.”

What We're Following See More »
NO MORE CUTS
House Dems Push on Puerto Rico, Citing Zika
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"House Democrats are stepping up pressure on Republicans to advance legislation addressing Puerto Rico’s worsening debt crisis by issuing a report arguing that austerity cuts can’t be sustained and have made the island more vulnerable to the mosquito-borne Zika virus." Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee released a report yesterday that argued "further sharp reductions in government spending can’t be a part of a legislative solution"—especially with a rainy season boosting the mosquito population and stressing an island health system already struggling to deal with the Zika virus.

Source:
USING LOCAL CELLS
Clapper: ISIS Can Stage Attacks in U.S.
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"ISIS has the capability to stage a Paris-style attack in the U.S. using local cells to strike in multiple locations and inflict dozens of casualties, according to the Obama administration's top U.S. intelligence official." Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN's Peter Bergen that such a scenario is "something we worry about a lot in the United States, that they could conjure up a raid like they did in Paris or Brussels."

Source:
WILL ANNOUNCE PICK BEFORE CONVENTION
Trump to Name VP Search Committee
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he expected to reveal his vice presidential pick sometime in July—before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland—but added that he would soon announce a committee to handle the selection process, which would include Dr. Ben Carson." He said he's inclined to name a traditional political figure, unlike himself.

Source:
AFFECTS WORKERS EARNING MORE THAN $50K
Business, Nonprofits Panicking Over Labor’s New Overtime Rules
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Groups have flocked to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to ask for last-minute changes" to the Department of Labor's new overtime rules, which would require that businesses pay overtime to any salaried employee making more than $50,440 per year, up from the current $23,660. Business interests, as well as some nonprofits, say the move could lead to mass change in workers' statuses, from salaried to hourly. "The White House office held 22 meetings on the proposal in April, according to its calendar, and groups say more meetings are planned this week." Last month, National Journal's Alex Brown reported on how the change might affect Washington.

Source:
KAUFMAN, HUNTSMAN ALSO MAY JUMP ON BOARD
Ed Rollins Joins Pro-Trump Super PAC
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Republican gun-for-hire Ed Rollins is hopping on the bandwagon, er, the Great America PAC, "an outside group that’s supporting Trump. ... Rollins isn’t the only GOP mainstay coming around to Trump. In recent days, Republican veterans including Republican National Committeeman Ron Kaufman and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman have expressed an openness to him."

Source:
×