One of the key reasons for the partial government shutdown was the president’s refusal to sign a continuing resolution that delayed Obamacare for one year, but it now appears that the president himself may delay the individual mandate.
House Republicans attached an amendment completely defunding Obamacare as part of a continuing resolution that would have kept the government operating after Oct. 1. However, the amendment was stripped in the Senate.
During the rest of the shutdown, the media narrative was that the government was closed down because the Republicans inserted this amendment. However, prior to the shutdown date, Republicans passed another continuing resolution that did not contain the Obamacare defunding provision, but simply delayed the individual mandate for one year over concerns the website and healthcare exchanges were not ready. They also passed an amendment requiring government officials in Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court to obtain their healthcare from Obamacare, a move that most Americans felt was fair since they had to live under the laws, so government officials should as well.
When the exchanges were launched on Oct. 1, Republican concerns were realized as the website turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.
Individuals found themselves unable to login or in many instances received errors and were unable to create accounts. For those who were able to create accounts after spending hours on the site, the data was transmitted to insurance companies rife with errors.
The administration spin was the reason for the problems was because Americans liked Obamacare so much they were overloading the system. However, after three weeks the problems have persisted despite multiple attempts by the administration to resolve the problems. Computer experts have said there could be as many as 5 million lines of code that will need to be rewritten to resolve the issue. The staggering amount of code reveals the problems are far more than just small “technical glitches” like the administration claims.
Interestingly, while Obama was willing to let the government remain shut down rather than delay his signature program, which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says is the president’s “crown jewel,” the White House is now sending out signals that it might be willing to delay Obamacare after all.
During a recent White House briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to rule out a delay in the mandate, noting that the law excuses some people from the mandate and penalties under certain conditions.
“The law is clear that if you do not have access to affordable health insurance, then you will not be asked to pay a penalty because you haven’t purchased affordable health insurance,” he said Monday, though he added that administration officials are intent on trying to make sure people can get coverage.
If the president were to delay Obamacare because of website issues, any political gain as a result of the shutdown could be lost because such a move would vindicate the actions taken by Republicans when they attempted to delay it during budget resolutions.
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