CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) says people should not be penalized for failing to sign up for healthcare insurance if the enrollment system does not work properly.

MetroNews file photo

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Manchin said that is why he is working with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) on a proposal to delay for one year the penalties created in the Affordable Care Act.

“One year, it should be a one-year transition (with) no fines at all,” he said of the proposal on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline” with Hoppy Kercheval.  “One year in transitioning into this law, trying to fix and repair the parts that are fixable and identifying those that might not be fixable.”

With the Manchin-Isakson proposal, the individual mandate would still take effect in January as scheduled.

It would be January 2015, though, before penalties for not having health insurance would take effect at the already established second year rates.

“You have to give it an effort to try to repair things, rather just throwing everything out, the way people have done,” said Manchin.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) is working on an alternative proposal that would push back the individual mandate, the requirement that people have health insurance or pay penalties starting in the New Year. Manchin said he aims to meet with Rubio next week to discuss the differences in their proposals.

On Capitol Hill Thursday, the contractors who built the problem-plagued healthcare.gov website—including CGI Federal—went before members of U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Those contractors testified confusion between companies and heavy website traffic have continued to bog down the portal for enrollment for coverage through the federal exchanges. West Virginia is one of more than 30 states participating in those federally run health insurance marketplaces.

Cheryl Campbell, CGI’s senior vice president, said the Obama Administration bears the responsibility for the continued problems as the “systems integrator or quarterback on this project.”

U.S. Health and Human Resources Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to testify in front of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee next week.

Manchin said the Affordable Care Act should do what it claims to do.  “Nobody should be made to buy insurance that’s inferior to what they already have or costs more than what they already have.  That’s not affordable health care,” he said.

If the penalties are delayed, Manchin said he’ll be working to address three questions in the coming year. “Is it affordable to people that have never been able to buy it before? Are we keeping people healthy? Are we driving down the costs of health care?”

The open enrollment period continues through March 31. To avoid penalties, White House officials said individuals who do not have health insurance will have to have it by then.

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Comments

  • Hope

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  • Ross Ballard

    What an idiot... He wants the rest of us who do pay outrageous amonts for insurance to continue to carry those free loaders who choose not to engage. Pretty Boy knows NOTHING about governing and tons about getting elected. We're stuck with a flim flam artist. I'm a life long Democrat. Have never voted for a republican. I simply avoid voting for him or his opponent at each opportunity. What was once a leading progressive state showing the rest of the nation how it's done has in the last 25 years gone from sheep herder to a flock of sheep. Thanks to out of state Big Energy, Big Pharma, and Big GOP we occupy the bottom of the barrel in nearly every important statistic including optimism. We have become intellectually and politically lazy as a people. Joe has been ZERO help in raising us up again. His uncle A. James must be turning over in his grave.

  • Randy

    I propose lowering the interstate speed limit to 60 but not allowing cops to ticket drivers exceeding that for one year.

  • wvman75

    He couldn't run a freakin' fever.

  • wvman75

    And since he's probably spying on me right now, I'm giving him the finger. And mentioning him in my email while discussing his ineptitude on the phone. Just to make it easy.

    Worst President, EVER.

  • wvman75

    I call it a mandated screwing by the federal government. I know who's fingerprints are on it.

  • Tom wv

    You hear obamacare called AHC more and more. It was fine to pin obamas name to it when they where pushing it thru congress. It was such a grand plan. So now that the wheels are falling off the media is trying to seperate little barry's name from the train wreck.

  • Don WV

    I really hope Senator Manchin reads these comments! If he does, he knows how his constituents feel about the job he is doing!
    By voting with the Obama to close the government, to avoid a delay in ObamaCare, then a couple weeks later voting to delay it, really makes him look like.............well..........ever hear the saying "every which way the wind blows"?
    Joe, quit your political grand standing! Work for the people of West Virginia, not Obama, or the Democratic Party! You know West Virginians, or America cannot afford Obama's Care! So do the right thing, join with who ever you need to, yes even Cruz to stop this disaster for West Virginia, and to healthcare in general!

    • Randy

      He isn't concerned with WV voters. He's dreaming of a 2016 VP nomination.

  • wvman75

    By proposing this, Manchin is basically admitting that his buddy Obama was the one who shut down the government. Because, if Obama would have agreed to delay the individual mandate, the shutdown wouldn't have happened. lol.

    • wvman75

      Oh, and Manchin went along with it. And there's still the fact that he helped them attack our Second Amendment rights. Not forgetting that anytime soon. Neither should you.

  • John

    WOW! This man would pick the gold out of silver straws. Senator Rubio (R) of Florida said to Bill O'Reilly on the factor that he was introducing a Bill Monday to delay AHC for one year. Mr. O'Reilly said he would need democrats support, and Sen. Manchin might help lhim co-author a bill. Sen Manchin on the factor last night said he was writing a bill. This man, Manchin would do anything to get publicity.

  • ConservativeRealist

    But I noticed he stuck to the party line last week in the Senate with the shut down...he could have crossed the aisle and/or prompted Harry Reid to give a little but, "NO-Joeblow" wouldn't stray from the party line...

  • To the Raleigh

    So, I guess what you are saying Mr. Manchin is that you voted for ObamaCare before you would vote against ObamaCare.

  • PMQ

    What a total Political Hack! BloJoe can be anything you need him to be. No SPINE.

    • Richard

      And our idiots who call themselves voters keep electing him

  • bulldog95

    I guess since a Dem has its name on this it might see the light of day in the senate. Didnt you have a chance to talk about this stuff a couple of weeks ago or was it better to just blame republicans for a couple of weeks?

    NoMo Joe.

  • Doug

    Lol.....he just voted a few weeks ago not to give a one year delay. He is in panic mode. Its save you rear end time for Manchin. I personally will never vote for this two faced Obama follower. He has sold his state to EPA. Remember his commercial when he ran for Senate? He shot the Obama care bill pinned to a tree with a weapon he tried to ban last year. Then, went to washington and voted for it! This man care nothing about the people of WV. He is too worried about being the next rising star for the Democratic Liberal Party. Say one thing, then vote the other way. He should just change his name to "Joebama" and run for president. 47% of people would vote for him.

    • Damion45

      To be fair Doug, he shot the Cap and Trade Bill. But your point is made.

      • Doug

        Thank you for the correction. George Bush made me say it was the Healthcare bill.