By Jonathan Easley - 10/22/13 10:12 PM EDT
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on Tuesday urged President Obama to extend the open enrollment period for ObamaCare.
The New Hampshire Democrat said a longer enrollment period is necessary in light of the technical problems plaguing the federal healthcare site.
“Given the existing problems with the website, I urge you to consider extending open enrollment beyond the current end date of March 31, 2014,” Shaheen wrote in a letter to Obama.
“Allowing extra time for consumers is critically important so they have the opportunity to become familiar with the website, survey their options and enroll.”
“If an individual is unable to purchase health insurance due to technical problems with enrollment, they should not be penalized because of lack of coverage,” she wrote.
The myriad technical issues that have plagued the website since its rollout earlier this month have led many Republicans, and some Democrats, to call for delays to various aspects of the law.
Under the healthcare law’s individual mandate, uninsured Americans will be hit with a fine in 2014 if they fail to purchase insurance.
Those without health insurance have will until March 31, 2014 to enroll in the federal ObamaCare site, but the technical problems have kept many from completing registration or enrolling.
In her letter, Shaheen expressed support for the law, which she says has “positively impacted the lives of millions of Americans."
“I know that the White House is working diligently to address the website issues, and I know that you share my interest in making this law work successfully,” she added.