Dem seeks one-month O-Care deadline extension

A House Democrat is proposing a one-month delay to the March 31 deadline to enroll in ObamaCare.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.) introduced legislation Wednesday to let states running their own exchanges extend enrollment through the end of April.

Schrader said the bill would give his home state a chance to recover from glitches in the enrollment process.

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"The technical issues that continue to plague Cover Oregon's website have made the enrollment process back home extraordinarily difficult despite Oregonians' best efforts to sign up," he said. "Given that difficulty, it only makes sense to extend the enrollment period for up to one month."

Schrader stressed that Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) has been looking for a way to extend the enrollment period, and that his bill would let this happen. The bill would not require other states to extend their enrollment date.

Legislation was proposed Wednesday, the same day that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said there would be no extension of the enrollment period under the law.

The Obama administration has said 4.2 million people have signed up for health insurance under the law as of the end of February. If another 1.2 million or so people sign up by March, as some analysts expect, that will leave enrollment at 5.4 million by March.

That would be short of the 7 million number the Obama administration first expected, although officials later backed away from that projection.

In testimony this week, Sebelius said officials cannot say how many people have begun paying for new health plans under the law.

Enrollment numbers are likely being hurt by a decision by the administration to exempt people from buying insurance under the law for two more years, and to continue using health plans that don't meet new standards under the law. The administration has said this exemption would last through 2016.