Tags: democrats | panicking | obamacare | deadline

Democrats Panicking as Obamacare Countdown Begins

By Drew MacKenzie   |   Monday, 25 Nov 2013 12:55 PM

Worried Democrats have pressed the panic button as the countdown begins to President Barack Obama's deadline for the Affordable Care Act's botched website to be fixed by the end of the month.

With just six days to go, Obama faces a barrage of criticism from his own party at Republican-led oversight hearings into the healthcare insurance enrollment program along with pressure to fire people responsible for the HealthCare.Gov failure, according to Politico.

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The president is most likely to feel the heat as Democrats, especially those in the House, try to distance themselves from Obama before the mid-term elections next year, mostly because they do not believe that the website will be fully functional by the deadline.

"The president and his team have repeatedly assured us that the system will be working by Dec. 1," said Iowa Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running for the seat of retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin. "That’s when I start looking at what we have to do in our oversight function to hold the administration accountable for making it work."

Braley added that he's even considering calling on Obama to dump members of his staff.

"I’m thinking about those options. But my biggest concern is fixing the system and making it work," he said.

And when Braley was asked whether he was angry at the president over the problems caused by the Affordable Care Act, he clearly stated: "Yes."

Despite Vice President Joe Biden's assurance that the site will be fixed, Democrats fear the government has no backup plan in case another Obama promise collapses, which could deeply effect their re-election chances.

And they will be taking the opportunity of high-profile hearings as a means to attack the White House and inform their constituents that they are not to blame for the rocky rollout, says Politico.

Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, is concerned if the healthcare website is not working properly by the deadline, it will result in people not having enough time to get mandated insurance coverage by January 1st.

"If it’s not working substantially we have to think really hard about the Jan. 1 enrollment, because people will only have a couple of weeks," she said, suggesting that a Congressional extension might need to be implement at that stage.

"What people say to me is the people who are in charge now have the ability," she said. "I hope they’re right."

With Democrats facing defeats in the House and Senate next year due to the anger over the misfiring Obamacare launch, 39 House Democrats have already voted for a Republican bill that will allow consumers to keep their insurance they had before the ACA debuted October 1st.

And Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu is pushing her own bill in the Senate allowing people to keep their existing healthcare coverage while Sen. Mark Begich, an Alaska Democrat, is proposing his own solution to the problem.

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"I am not waiting for the president’s promise, I want to see results," Begich said on Fox and Friends. Begich will have a tough re-election fight next year in his home state where he's been slammed for supporting the health reform bill.

Obama's administration has agreed to extend the Dec. 15th deadline for people enrolling in the healthcare program until Dec. 23rd which would still give them enough time to receive coverage by January 1st, adds Politico.


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