Baucus: ObamaCare site is ‘Humpty Dumpty’


Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusTop Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns GOP tries to keep spotlight on taxes amid Mueller charges Clinton-Sanders tensions linger for Democrats MORE (D-Mt.) said Friday the penalty for the individual mandate should be delayed if the “Humpty Dumpty” ObamaCare website can’t be put back together again.

“I think it makes better sense to see how much of this can be put together, how much Humpty Dumpty can be fixed in the next month,” Baucus said in an interview with Scott Fredericks of NewsTalk 730 KYYA.

“And if it looks like Humpty Dumpty is not getting put back better together, then maybe we should start thinking about delaying the penalties. It's not right to penalize people for mistakes the government's made.”

But Baucus noted it was too early to talk about a delay right now.

“I think that’d be premature,” he said. “I just don’t think that makes sense right now. I think it’d be better to … make what we have work, make it work better. We may get to a point later where maybe a delay is more appropriate, that might be the better judgment, but I don’t think we’re at that point yet. Let’s just keep working with what we got.”

The administration has vowed the site will be running smoothly for most users by the end of November. The uninsured seeking coverage through the federal exchanges have until March 31 to purchase healthcare or face a penalty.

On Wednesday, nine House Democrats proposed legislation that would delay the penalty associated with the individual health insurance mandate under ObamaCare until the site is fully functional.

Baucus announced earlier this year he wouldn’t be seeking reelection, leaving the party scrambling to find a candidate for what was once thought to be a safe Democratic seat.

He also set off a political firestorm when Republicans pounced on a comment he made in which he appeared to refer to the healthcare law as a “train wreck.” Democrats say the quote was taken out of context because he was referring to the law being implemented without consumers having been sufficiently told about how it works. 

This story was posted at 11:33 a.m. and updated at 4:07 p.m.