(WASHINGTON) — Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., have introduced legislation which will delay the individual mandate penalty for one year.
“Since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, there have been many identifiable problems exposed in the law that need to be addressed,” Manchin said in a statement. “We’ve worked through a few of these issues, but our job in Congress is far from over. We need to start working together to fix this law and make it work so that all Americans have access to affordable and reliable health care coverage. We can start with a one-year delay of the individual mandate to eliminate penalty fees if individuals choose to not enroll for a health care plan in 2014. This commonsense proposal simply allows Americans to take more time to browse and explore their options, making 2014 a true transition year.”
“Healthcare should not be a burden on consumers, which is why we must delay the penalty for individuals,” Kirk said in a statement. “Last July, American businesses were given more time to provide employees health coverage. If a delay is good enough for businesses, it should be good enough for all Americans.”
Manchin, a Democrat, has long expressed his concerns about the individual mandate and has said in the past that he would consider delaying it by a year.
On Wednesday, 16 Democratic senators, many who are up for re-election in 2014, met with President Obama to discuss the healthcare exchanges, but Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said there was no talk of delaying the individual mandate with the president and vice president.
“There was no discussion about, in any way, defunding, delaying, destroying the Affordable Care Act. We feel just the opposite,” Durbin said earlier Thursday.
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