Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee that helped draft the Obamacare legislation, said Friday that he is open to delaying the individual mandate in light of the problematic rollout of HealthCare.gov.
Baucus told Newstalk 730 KYYA’s Scott Fredricks that a delay was only fair if the problems with the enrollment website are not fixed in the immediate future.
“Let’s just see how much of this can be put together, how much Humpty Dumpty can be fixed in the next month, and if it looks like Humpty Dumpty not getting put back better together, then maybe we should start thinking about delaying the penalties,” Baucus said. “It’s not right to penalize people for mistakes that the government’s made because the exchange isn’t working, so the better approach is make sure the exchange is working so that we don’t have to worry about the penalty problem.”
Baucus, who will retire at the end of his term next year, has previously referred to the law as a “train wreck.”
People trying to purchase insurance on HealthCare.gov have faced long delays and loading problems, and the website was down several times over the past week.
There has been bipartisan support for a delay in light of the website’s struggles. Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is sponsoring legislation in the Senate to delay the individual mandate, and Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has come out in favor of a delay. Florida Republicans Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Trey Radel are sponsoring similar, but separate, legislation.