WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) says this year should have been a transition year under the Affordable Care Act.
Instead, people who do not have health insurance will be penalized starting Jan. 1. “I think it should have gone into effect Oct. 1. I just don’t think it should have been mandated,” said Manchin.
Enrollment, through the exchanges created in the health care law, started almost three weeks ago. Since then, the website for it, www.healthcare.gov, has been plagued by problems that government officials are still working to fix.
The effects of the problems were not clear.
So far, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is not releasing information about how many people have applied and qualified for coverage along with the health plans they’re selecting and their health risks.
In West Virginia, the federal government is running the health insurance exchange and only one company, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, is offering four tiers of plans to individuals through it.
Such problems, said Manchin, were not unexpected. “I knew it wasn’t perfect to begin with, but I said I would work to repair it,” said Manchin. “If I can’t repair it, I’ll repeal it.”