health insurance options in
the exchanges provided under the Affordable Care Act,
efforts have begun to ameliorate the situation.
U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor
has expressed support for Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's letter asking President Obama to extend
the open enrollment under the health care law, now set to end March 31. Republicans, too, have been calling for a delay, but an open-ended one that the president has resisted. Neither Shaheen nor Pryor, both of whom face re-election challenges, specified what a new deadline should be.
I read Senator Shaheen’s letter today and support the common sense idea to extend the date for open enrollment. I believe, given the technical issues, it makes sense to extend the time for people to sign up. In addition, the Administration should state clearly how the enforcement mechanism will work if people can’t sign up in time. We all want to see the law work, and I hope the Administration will take a hard look at this reasonable suggestion.
Opponents of the health care law are already at work on social media casting Pryor's position as a reversal. He has not, however, endorsed a delay of the mandate to purchase insurance, only a delay in the signup period. The government shutdown was over a much broader insistence on defunding the healthcare law, not an extension of the signup period.
Opponent Tom Cotton is, as usual, stretching the truth. He says Pryor is for a delay he wouldn't support that would have prevented the government shutdown. In the fine print of his news release he mentions quickly that the Republicans NEVER offered to approve a budget solely in return for an extension of the signup period for health insurance. They wanted a one-year delay in ALL aspects of the Affordable Care Act. They also said they'd settle for an extended delay of the individual mandate. Pryor has not called for either of those things. It won't be the last time Cotton rates a pants-on-fire rating.
With problems plaguing the government website for new