Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), in a new interview, compares President Obama's new health-care exchanges and the accompanying Web site to "Humpty Dumpty."
Baucus also said he's open to delaying the penalties for those who don't obtain insurance by the current March 31 deadline, but that he thinks it's "premature" to do so.
"Let's just see how much of this can be put together, how much Humpty Dumpty can be fixed, in the next month," Baucus told KYAA-AM. "And if it looks like Humpty Dumpty's not getting put back ... together, then maybe we should start thinking about delaying the penalties.
"It's not right to penalize people for mistakes that the government's made because the exchange isn't working."
Baucus, whose committee helped draft the law and has been described as an "architect" of it, previously warned that its implementation could result in a "train wreck" -- a comment Republicans have used with gusto ever since he uttered it.
This week, Baucus rejected an effort from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to delay the individual mandate until six months after the Government Accountability Office declares the HealthCare.gov Web site fully functional.
Baucus said in the interview that he doesn't think an individual mandate delay is the right call right now but that it may be eventually.
"I think that’d be premature," he said. "I just don’t think that makes sense right now. I think it’d be better to (say), ‘OK, let’s make what we have work, make it work better.' We may get to a point later on where maybe a delay is more appropriate."
Baucus added during the interview that he had just thought to compare the law to the the nursery rhyme character, who "all the king's horses and all the king's men" failed to put back together after it fell off a wall.
Baucus is not the first member of Congress to use the metaphor. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a top Obamacare opponent, used it back in July.
— Cong. Tim Huelskamp (@CongHuelskamp) July 3, 2013
Updated at 2:57 p.m. Anjuman Ali contributed to this post.