President Barack Obama and his apologists are working to ensure Democratic support for Obamacare despite the growing concern on Capitol Hill on the problems with the federal exchange website. But some in the President’s party are breaking ranks, in one way or another, among them is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
During an appearance yesterday on ABC’s This Week, Manchin told host George Stephanopoulos that no American should be forced to buy a policy this more costly that what they had before Obamacare.
“Do you see any indication from anyone in the administration that they’re willing to go along with some sort of a delay?” Stephanopoulos asked Manchin.
“I’m not sure. I haven’t spoken in detail with them,” said Manchin, who is working on legislation with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) to delay the individual mandate for one year. “George, nobody should be forced to buy a policy that costs more than what they had and is inferior to what they had. Those things have to be worked out.”
What Manchin is referring to are stories that hundreds of thousands of Americans have seen their insurance coverage canceled because their plans didn’t meet the requirements mandated by Obamacare. Many Americans are being pushed onto more costly plans, some of which include higher deductibles, forcing them to pay for mandated coverage that they may not want or need.
“The new markets that we’re opening up, basically, is going to be good, but it has to be affordable. You have to work through this,” he said. “The transition period of one year is very reasonable and doable, and the fines don’t go into effect until 2015.”
“We’re still working through it. If you delay it, you’re never really going to have to identify the problems and work them out,” he added.
The individual mandate is the most controversial, unpopular provisions in Obamacare. It requires virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance coverage or face a punitive tax. The tax for 2014 is $95 or 1% of gross income, whichever amount is greater. The Obama Administration tweaked the deadline for the individual mandate last week in order to bring it in line with the open enrollment period, which ends on March 31, 2014.
Many vulnerable Senate Democrats have come out in favor of a proposal by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to extend the open enrollment period. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced on Monday that he will introduce legislation next week, when the Senate reconvenes, to delay the individual mandate until the Government Accountability Office (GAO) certifies that it’s fully functional.