(WASHINGTON) — Some Democrats are supporting the push for easing deadlines in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act after the health care website faced a slew of technical issues during its roll out.
Ten Senate Democrats signed a letter to the President asking the administration to delay enforcement of the mandate, which is set for Jan. 1. The letter signifies a break in ranks as they join the growing number of Republicans suggesting a push back in the deadline.
Nearly a month into the three-month roll out, the website has received criticism from users who encountered sign-up glitches, among other issues.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark,. asked for White House clarification on how and when it would enforce the individual mandate after Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. called for the Obama administration to extend the open enrollment period.
“I read Senator Shaheen’s letter today and support the common sense idea to extend the date for open enrollment. I believe, given the technical issues, it make sense to extend the time for people to sign up,” Pryor said in a statement Wednesday. “In addition, the Administration should state clearly how the enforcement mechanism will work if people can’t sign up in time. We all want to see the law work, and I hope the Administration will take a hard look at this reasonable suggestion.”
Under the current law, insurance enrollement ends on March 31, 2014.
In her letter, Shaheen said “we are losing valuable time to educate and enroll people in insurance plans. I also fear that people that have tried, and failed, to enroll online may become frustrated and won’t return to the website to try again at a later date.”
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., suggested extending the deadline by two months.
Still, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the website’s glitches are “disappointing” but she rejected calls from fellow Democrats to delay the law’s implementation.
In his weekly radio address, President Obama said all efforts are being made to fix the website. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is leading the investigation into the technical problems, looking into how and why the issues occurred.
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