CNN is reporting that U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D) supports an extension of the individual enrollment sign-up period for the new federal health care law.
Earlier today, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) released a letter sent to President Obama urging him to stall and clarify aspects related to individuals attempting to enroll in the new health insurance exchanges.
“The difficulty that people in New Hampshire and in other states that are relying on the federally facilitated marketplaces are experiencing is incredibly frustrating and disappointing,” she said.
“Given the existing problems with the website, I urge you to consider extending open enrollment beyond the current end date of March 31, 2014. Allowing extra time for consumers is critically important so they have the opportunity to become familiar with the website, survey their options and enroll,” Shaheen said.
“Further, in light of the difficulties individuals may be having with enrolling through healthcare.gov, I ask that you clarify how the individual responsibility penalty will be administered and enforced. If an individual is unable to purchase health insurance due to technical problems with enrollment, they should not be penalized because of lack of coverage,” she added.
Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, who faces re-election in 2014, said he also supports pushing back the March 31, 2014 deadline, but neither he nor Shaheen advocated a firm deadline for the extension.
“I read Senator Shaheen’s letter today and support the common sense idea to extend the date for open enrollment. I believe, given the technical issues, it makes sense to extend the time for people to sign up. In addition, the Administration should state clearly how the enforcement mechanism will work if people can’t sign up in time. We all want to see the law work, and I hope the Administration will take a hard look at this reasonable suggestion,” Pryor said in a statement.