70% of voters support individual mandate delay

The problems with the federal Obamacare exchange website have driven even more Americans to back a one year delay of the individual mandate, a controversial provision of the law that requires virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance coverage.

In August, The Morning Consult found that 60% of registered voters backed a one-year delay of the individual mandate, similar to the delay of the employer mandate. But after a disastrous launch of the federal exchange, a new poll from Crossroad GPS shows that 70% of registered voters now support a delay of the individual mandate:

American voters overwhelmingly support a delay of Obamacare’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance, according to a portion of a new Republican poll shared with the Washington Examiner.

Republican pollster Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies, in a survey conducted for the GOP group Crossroads GPS from Sunday through Tuesday, found that 70 percent of “registered voters” support delaying the individual mandate in the wake of problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-five percent said they “strongly favor” such a delay.

Meanwhile, 23 percent said they opposed delaying the individual mandate and its accompanying tax penalty for non-compliance; 14 percent said they strongly opposed. The poll surveyed 661 registered voters nationally and had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The Obama Administration has already announced a temporary delay in the enforcement of the individual mandate to align the provision with the open enrollment on the insurance exchanges, which ends on March 31, 2014. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) are also working on legislation to delay enforcement of the individual mandate for one year, which is likely to get support from vulnerable Democrats.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced last week that he will introduce legislation to delay the individual mandate until the Government Accountability Office (GAO) certifies that it’s fully functional.

In July, the House of Representatives passed a one-year delay of the individual mandate. The White House pledge to veto the measure, and it wasn’t brought up for consideration in the Senate. The chamber passed a delay again last month as a rider to the Continuing Resolution. The Senate stripped that language in a party-line vote.

The CBO has determined that a one-year delay of the individual mandate would save taxpayers $36 billion. More importantly, however, it would give some piece of mind to those who will have to purchase coverage on the exchange, knowing that they won’t be unfairly taxed if the administration can’t fix a train wreck of a website.

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