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Hagan, Other Senate Dems Up for Reelection Call for Extended Obamacare Enrollment Period

2:33 PM, Oct 24, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat from North Carolina who is up for reelection in 2014, says she supports delaying the deadline for signing up for health insurance under Obamacare's individual mandate. Hagan, who voted for Obamacare back in 2010, also says the fine for not signing up for health insurance should be waived.

Kay Hagan

"The problems surrounding the federal exchange for the Affordable Care Act are absolutely unacceptable," said Hagan in a statement. "North Carolinians are frustrated that they haven't been able to enroll in health insurance plans, and I am just as frustrated. Today I am asking the Administration to extend the open enrollment period by two months, and waive the penalty for the individual mandate for the same period of time, to make up for time that is being lost while the website for the federal exchange is not functioning."

Joining Hagan's call for a delay are other Democrats in the Senate who are up for reelection next year and who voted for the law. That group includes Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

Meanwhile, another red-state Democrat running for Senate next year in Georgia has said the individual mandate should be delayed. Michelle Nunn, a businesswoman and daughter of former senator Sam Nunn, called for Congress to "postpone the insurance penalty" associated with Obamacare. Here's the statement provided to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

As someone who ran a $30-million dollar organization with 130 employees, I’ve witnessed first-hand the burden and financial pain of rising health care premiums.  Georgia families and businesses of all sizes have struggled with this in recent years.  As the execution of ACA moves forward, we need to make sure that it works and is practical not only for businesses, large and small, but ultimately for the individuals and families that are the audience for the legislation. We need to pragmatically build upon what we are learning and fix things that are broken.

It has become apparent in recent weeks that implementing this law will take some time.  That’s why I supported a delay in the mandate on businesses.  And it is why, I believe that in light of the recent implementation challenges, I agree with bipartisan efforts led by Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson to postpone the insurance penalty for Georgia families. 

There are parts of the law that are already helping families here in Georgia. Georgians shouldn't be denied coverage because they have a pre-existing condition and young adults should be able to stay on their parent's health plan when they are first starting out and looking for work. Under the law, there are no life time or annual limits on coverage and those who suffer a catastrophic illness don’t have to worry about losing their savings or their homes.

But we need to fix what’s wrong with the law.  After all, I know from my own experience with start-ups that when you start a business, it takes time to get it right and it often requires meaningful adjustments and course corrections. The same goes for fixing this law.

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