Sen. Joe Manchin: Obamacare Enrollment Extension No Surprise

Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 11:18 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday he's not surprised that the Obamacare enrollment deadline will be pushed back, since delays had already been granted for businesses and unions.

"I just assumed that they would delay this also, because we delayed big businesses, small businesses, unions. Why not delay the individual who really is going to face the brunt of this?" the West Virginia Democrat told "Fox & Friends."

The White House is expected to announce Wednesday the newest delay that pushes back the deadline for people to sign up for Obamacare from March 31 to mid-April. The goal is to help those already in line to enroll, but who had experienced problems navigating the healthcare website, Julie Bataille with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told The Washington Post.

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Manchin said he thought the best implementation for the healthcare law would have been to create a transitional year with no penalties or fines. He explained he is working on a bipartisan healthcare bill with Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk for fixes to "repair it, fix it, find out the market, and [if] the product will fit."

Congress had "already set a pattern that we're not going to repeal" Obamacare, Manchin said. The focus then became "working in a constructive way to repair."

"Get rid of the parts that don't work. Get rid of the parts we can't afford," he said.

Manchin was optimistic it was possible for Democrats and Republicans to craft a plan to make the healthcare law more workable.

"They can work together. Leadership has to work together. We got to be progressive in what we're doing and trying to fix things, repair things, and get rid of things that don't work," he said.

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