Kay Hagan calls on White House to extend health insurance enrollment deadline 2 months

October 24, 2013
(AP Photo/ Free Press, Zach Frailey) (Zach Frailey/Free Press via AP)

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) called Thursday for a two-month extension in the enrollment period for the new health-care law, saying the current problems the federal system is experiencing " are absolutely unacceptable."

Hagan joins a growing chorus of Senate Democrats — several of whom are up for reelection next year — who are lobbying the Obama administration to make concessions in light of the glitches still affecting the federal health insurance marketplace and HealthCare.gov. Rep. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) has already called for delaying the March 31 enrollment deadline, as has Sen. Mark Begich (R-Alaska.). Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has asked for a one-year delay in the individual mandate that Americans buy insurance, which is likely to encounter significant White House resistance.

In a statement, Hagan said extending the enrollment period for two months and waiving the tax penalty for the same period of time could help "make up for time that is being lost while the website for the federal exchange is not functioning."

“Everyone should be committed to making this work and making health care more affordable, and if that requires fixes, then we need to make those commonsense changes," she added. "An extension would provide time to assess the extent of the problems and determine whether additional delays in the individual mandate are necessary. But frankly, the administration had plenty of time to get these websites user-ready, and I would like to keep the pressure on to get these problems fixed sooner rather than later so that North Carolina families can get online and shop for the plan that suits them best."

“In the coming days and weeks, the Administration must be fully transparent in their efforts to get the website working. Anything less than complete disclosure and accountability is not acceptable for me or the North Carolinians I talk to everyday. The Administration must improve their communications with the American people about this very important issue.”

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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