The Obama administration is delaying online Obamacare enrollement for small businesses and people who primarily speak Spanish, according to an Associated Press report.
The online exchanges are scheduled to open Oct. 1. However, the AP reports that while small businesses can go online and shop around, they will not be able to finalize any insurance plans until November.
“We wanted to make sure this was going to work properly and be effective for small businesses,” Gary Cohen, the Health and Human Services Department official overseeing the rollout, told the AP. “We just felt like taking the additional time to make sure everything was functioning the way we wanted was the right thing to do.”
Additionally, the AP reports, the Obama administration notified Hispanic groups Wednesday that the Spanish language version of HealthCare.gov will not be able to enroll people for weeks after the exchanges open on Oct. 1.
Republicans, who have been hammering the administration over the slew of Obamacare roll-out stumbles jumped on the delay.
“Unbelievable. Did anyone tell the president that his administration is delaying another piece of Obamacare before he tried swindling the American people again?” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “It’s clear all Americans deserve a delay from this trainwreck. Maybe even more Democrats will get on board with Republican efforts now.”
“ObamaCare’s been delayed for big businesses, for some state exchanges and now for small businesses. But where’s the American people’s ObamaCare delay? Where’s the concern for the privacy and security of the American people’s personal information?” Orrin Hatch, Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement. “This law is a disaster, but the exchanges — the heart of the law — are supposed to go live in just five days? Give me a break.”
“This law will never be ready for primetime, because this is what happens when Washington takes over health care,” Hatch added.
According to the AP, Cohen said they do not expect anymore delays.
“The individual market will open on time Oct. 1 with full online enrollment and plan shopping,” Cohen said.
The delays will affect the 36 states in which the federal government is operating the exchanges. Coverage will still begin on Jan 1.