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Despite Ongoing Website Problems, Senate Democrats Deny Americans Extension To Meet ObamaCare Mandate

Oct 30, 2013 | Press Releases

Rubio: “So while I continue to want to repeal ObamaCare, I think for the good of our people, it’s unfair to continue to hold over their head the threat of an IRS fine when the method of compliance that we’re asking them to follow isn’t fully functioning.”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Democrats today denied the American people an extension for having to comply with ObamaCare’s individual mandate, despite the exchange websites’ ongoing problems and technical issues.

Democrats opposed U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s unanimous consent request that the Senate pass S. 1592, The Delay Until Fully Functional Act, which he introduced on Monday.  The bill would delay the individual mandate to buy insurance until the ObamaCare exchange websites and all its enrollment processes have been fixed and are certified to be fully functional. Once that certification takes place, Americans will have an additional six months before being subject to taxes and penalties of the individual mandate.

In pushing for common sense relief for the American people, Rubio delivered the following remarks in which he highlighted stories from Florida constituents who have encountered problems with ObamaCare’s implementation:

Senator Marco Rubio
Remarks on S. 1592, The Delay Until Fully Functional Act
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C.

Senator Marco Rubio: “I do want to point out a couple things. First of all, this notion that ObamaCare is the law. It’s true, it is the law. It was passed by Congress in the years before I got here. This is called the calendar of business. This is the executive calendar. Basically every single bill that’s in here is an effort to change existing law, for the most part. That’s what we do around here. That’s what the legislative process is about. Virtually every bill that is filed is either an effort to create a new law, but usually it is an effort to change existing law. So if we begin to argue around here that once something is existing law it can never be changed, we might as well close up shop. Because that’s what we do. That’s what the legislative process is about.

“The second point that was made was that this law will prevent people from having health insurance. That is not true. Let me say this. Number one, I am in favor of people having health insurance, and I do think that we cannot ignore the health insurance problem that this country faces. Number two, admittedly, I am in favor of repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with a better alternative. But that’s not what this bill does. All this bill says, this is the only thing it says, the only thing it says is that you cannot enforce the individual mandate, that you cannot tell people next year that we will fine you, that the I.R.S. is going to impose a fine on you. You will not be able to do that until the website is fully working. In terms of this preventing people from getting health insurance, that’s simply not accurate. This doesn’t prevent anyone from going on to the website and signing up. If the bill that I am proposing is adopted, it wouldn’t keep anybody from signing up for health insurance under ObamaCare. The only thing it would keep is the I.R.S. from fining you if you’re unable to do it. And the reason why that makes sense is because the way we’re supposed to do it, on a website, simply isn’t working. So it’s just not accurate to say that this will somehow prevent people from buying health insurance. It doesn’t. It doesn’t prohibit you from trying to get it on the website. It’s just a recognition that the website is not working well and there’s a consequence to it. The consequence to it is: If they can’t get these web sites up and running, there are people that will not be able to buy health insurance, and they’re going to get fined for it. That doesn’t sound fair to me. So while I continue to want to repeal ObamaCare, I think for the good of our people, it’s unfair to continue to hold over their head the threat of an I.R.S. fine when the method of compliance that we’re asking them to follow isn’t fully functioning.

“I would point out that this is not a theoretical concern. I get letters and e-mails every day. I want to read one that I got, and I’ll paraphrase it. It’s from Barbara in Ruskin, Florida. She is 63 years old. She tried to apply to the health insurance marketplace on October 1. As of the writing of this e-mail, she’s no further along. She sought the services of a certified navigator on the 14th of October. After spending hours online trying to get an account established and making the application, the navigator with her on speaker phone, after many hours, finally assisted her in making an application. She was told that she would receive additional information via e-mail. Ten days later she had still heard nothing. She’s worried because she’s currently covered, but that is being terminated at the end of the year because of ObamaCare. It’s going to end on the 31st. And according to the information provided to her, she has to be enrolled in another insurance plan or she’s going to face the fine. This is just one example. I could go on and on.


“I think our people, irrespective of how you feel about ObamaCare, I think our people deserve better. To that end, I would read to you one e-mail from someone who actually supports ObamaCare. Nicholas in Palm Bay, Florida, wrote an extensive e-mail. He talked about how he submitted an application through the website. It took hours to complete because of web issues. They finally finished the application 23 days later. The application is still in progress, but it won’t let him go any further to choose the insurance. And so while he does not agree with me about defunding ObamaCare or repealing ObamaCare, he agrees with me that we should suspend the individual mandate penalty until this website thing is fixed. So I think there are a lot of people that are going to feel that way. And I think there are a lot of people that would be shocked that the government is going to punish them for not buying insurance when the website that they’re being sent to buy it on doesn’t work.”