Sen. Tom Udall is among Democrats who want the March 31 deadline on a penalty for not purchasing health care to be pushed back according to the Associated Press. The provision is part of the Affordable Care Act.
“I was proud to support the ACA to ensure millions of New Mexicans and Americans across the country can get affordable health care coverage, but the law isn’t perfect, and we should be willing to work to make any improvements needed,” Udall said in a statement provided to New Mexico Telegram Thursday afternoon. “The president has said the computer glitches in the enrollment system are unacceptable, and I support his efforts to fix the system. In the meantime, I’m joining my colleagues in urging the president to use his authority to ensure individuals aren’t penalized for lack of coverage if technical problems prevent them from enrolling.”
Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., wrote a letter that asks for “greater flexibility” for those who are seeking health care in light of problems many are having signing up for health care on the federal exchange.
The Associated Press says that Udall is among the five Senators who support Shaheen’s effort.
Shaheen’s letter says, “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.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., is working with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., on a bill that would delay the $95 penalty for not signing up for health care for a year. Manchin is a conservative Democrat in a red state seeking reelection next year.
Udall is also seeking reelection in 2014, although his seat is considered much more safe for Democrats than Manchin’s.
Other Democrats who are reportedly on board with Shaheen’s efforts also face reelection in 2014, including Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. Mark Udall is a cousin to Tom Udall.
Senate Democrats had voted against a proposal by House Republicans to fund the government in exchange for a one-year delay of the individual mandate. Senate Democrats had said they would only vote for a “clean” funding bill. Ultimately, a deal was reached on funding the government and averting breaching the debt limit.
This post was updated with a comment from Tom Udall.
Photo via Senator Tom Udall on Flickr.