Upton on ObamaCare website: GOP concerns beyond 'glitches'

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said Republicans have concerns about future problems related to ObamaCare, beyond website glitches.

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“The broken healthcare.gov website has captured the nation’s attention, but this is more than a website problem. We are also concerned about what happens next,” he said in this week’s Republican address.

“Will enrollment glitches become provider payment glitches? Will patients show up at their doctor’s office or hospital only to be told they aren’t in the system?” he asked. “And is the personal information Americans provide as part of the enrollment process safe from cyber hackers and identity theft.”

Upton is among an increasing number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including some Democrats, who are pressuring the Obama administration to delay the individual mandate’s enrollment period deadlines.

The law requires Americans not covered by healthcare insurance to sign up so that they’re enrolled by the end of March 2014. If they fail to meet that deadline, the government will fine them.

“How can the administration punish innocent Americans by forcing them to buy a product many cannot afford, from a system that does not work?” Upton said in the address.

The congressman said Friday the House could soon vote to delay that deadline whereby the enrollment period would be pushed back until the Department of Health and Human Services fixes the website problems.

On Thursday, Upton presided over his committee’s hearing where its members questioned contractors responsible for building the website that hosts ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges, HealthCare.gov.

The contractors that testified largely blamed the Obama administration for the technical setbacks the website has faced since it launched Oct. 1.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will testify before Upton’s committee on Wednesday to address the website’s issues.