Baucus blocks Rubio from delaying ObamaCare until website works

Greg Nash

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) attempted Wednesday to delay ObamaCare until the healthcare exchange website is fixed.

Rubio asked for unanimous consent to bring up his bill, S. 1592, which he said is necessary since HealthCare.gov isn’t working properly yet Americans are still expected to sign up for health insurance or face tax penalties.

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“I believe the prudent approach is to say we’re going to delay, we’re going to put off punishing people until the website works,” Rubio said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “Until these websites are working how can we punish people for not buying health insurances?”

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) objected to Rubio’s request to take up the bill, saying it was an effort to compromise ObamaCare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s pretty clear this motion is inappropriate,” Baucus said. “This is not how we should change the act. … The effect here is to disrupt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Rubio said his bill wouldn’t stop people from trying to sign up on the healthcare exchange website — which to the regret of the Obama administration has experienced technical “glitches” since the site launched. He said his bill would simply stop the IRS from penalizing people for not having health insurance.

ObamaCare mandates that everyone have health insurance and if their employer does not provide it, individuals have to sign up for the healthcare exchanges or face a fine.

Rubio’s effort came the same day Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before a House committee about the agencies failure in launching the website earlier this month.