Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill to delay the healthcare law’s individual mandate until Obamacare web glitches are put to rest.
Rubio told Fox News Tuesday morning that individuals should not be required to buy health insurance through their state marketplace. He proposed a trial run, to see if the website can work without glitches for six consecutive months, before penalizing individuals for not buying health insurance.
“How are you going to go after people next year using the IRS to punish them if the thing you’re forcing them to buy isn’t available for them to buy because the website is not working?” Rubio asked “Fox & Friends.”
The current penalty under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for not enrolling in creditable coverage by Mar. 31, 2014, is $95 per adult or 1 percent of family income, whichever amount is greater. The penalty goes up in subsequent years, ThinkProgress reported.
Rubio wants to wait until the Government Accountability Office certifies the system is “up and running and effectively working for six months, consecutive.”
The administration argues that there are other ways to apply for Obamacare. People contact call-in centers, community centers and local “navigators.”
“Given where we are in our analysis of this moment, we are not at that point where we’re thinking about how we don’t do this,” a senior administration official said Monday. “We think we’re on the pathway to make this work. If we get there, that would be a possibility. Right now, we believe the pathway forward allows us to work under the laws as established. ”
Rubio is rolling out his plan after headlines emerged about web technicians being aware of the shoddy websites before they were rolled out and officials ignoring the shortcomings in order to have them up and running by Oct. 1.
The Department of Health and Human Services has considered reassessing the timeline and penalties.
“There is a disconnect between the open enrollment and individual responsibility time frames in the first year of the Marketplace only,” the DHHS said in a statement. “The Administration is working to align those policies and will issue guidance soon. We are exploring options currently and will issue guidance at a later date.”