WASHINGTON, D.C. — Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) says efforts on Capitol Hill to delay the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act have her support.
“We’ve been trying to signal that this is the direction we need to go for months and so, yes, I would vote for it. I would be out there saying, ‘This is what we need to do,’” said Capito of a proposal U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is currently working on with U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).
Because of ongoing problems with enrollment for health insurance through the federal exchanges at www.healthcare.gov, the Manchin-Isakson proposal would delay the penalties for people do not have health insurance for one year.
Starting in January 2015, the penalties would take effect at the scheduled second year rates which would be $325 or two percent of an individual’s taxable income, depending on which number is larger. As of now, the 2014 penalty would be $95 or one percent of an individual’s taxable income.
Considered to be one of the largest website projects the U.S. government has ever attempted, the website is has been slow, locked up on users or dropped them entirely and, in some cases, has drawn on bad data in the more than three weeks since it launched.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to testify about the problems with the enrollment portal in front of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee next week.
“This is about more than a website,” said Capito on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “This is about a confusing, behemoth plan that wasn’t well thought out.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) is working on an alternative proposal to push back the individual mandate, the requirement that people have health insurance starting in the New Year, for six months.
“I’d like to see something much more extensive because I think the problems are much deeper,” Capito said of that possibility. She cites the future costs of the Medicaid expansion to West Virginia as just one area of concern.
“If you start to look at how this is going to get paid for and how the state is going to bear the 10 percent with the expansion, I think that’s something we need to look at,” said Capito.
Enrollment in the expanded Medicaid started on Oct. 1, the first day the federal exchanges opened in more than 30 states, including West Virginia. The enrollment period continues through March 31.
U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has said the health care reform time needs time to work. He said, until that happens, pieces of the comprehensive law should not be prematurely removed.