Upton: House may vote for ObamaCare delay

The House could soon vote to extend ObamaCare's enrollment period amid serious technical problems with HealthCare.gov, a key Republican lawmaker said Friday. 

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said during a taping for C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" that the idea has come up on both sides of the aisle.

"There’s a number of members — Republican and Democrat — that are calling for a further delay in terms of signing things up,” Upton said, according to a report.

"We’re going to take a good look at that, and we’ll see where we are, maybe having some announcement next week or so, maybe a little longer than that." 

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Delaying the deadline for enrollment in the new marketplaces is gaining support among Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2014, including Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.). 

Another Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), is drafting a bill to delay the individual mandate to carry health insurance. 

The momentum for changes comes as users continue to struggle with HealthCare.gov, the online enrollment portal where millions are meant to sign up for health plans. 

The system debuted with serious technical problems on Oct. 1, the start date of a six-month open enrollment period under ObamaCare. 

Upton did not specify what a delay bill might look like. The wrinkle in extending the enrollment period is that it would not change penalties under the individual mandate, which will hit anyone not carrying coverage on April 1. 

It is also possible that conservative lawmakers and outside groups would oppose a bill to ease pressure created by ObamaCare. 

Earlier this year, a similar effort to strengthen the law's temporary insurance program for sick patients was pulled under pressure from the House GOP's right flank. 

Critics argued that the bill "fixed" ObamaCare instead of aiming to repeal it.

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