Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) plans to introduce legislation that would delay the federal government’s ability to fine Americans if they don’t buy health insurance by next year.
"It’s unfair to punish people for not purchasing a product that they can’t purchase right now because the technology that’s in place, the website they’re supposed to buy it on, by the president’s own admission, is not working,” Rubio said on “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday.
He’s calling for a delay in the requirement until the government’s General Accounting Office certifies the website is running properly for six consecutive months.
“I think that’s a prudent approach,” he said.
Freshman Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) announced Tuesday he would introduce similar legislation in the House that would delay the fine.
“The President seems content to exempt everyone but you and your family from his signature piece of legislation, but not you and your family. Worse yet, Healthcare.gov and its Spanish counterpart, where you can shop for health insurance, is completely unusable," Radel said in a statement.
"This bill delays the Obamacare fine on you and your family until you can actually sign up for health coverage, a common sense concept lost on an Administration determined to force this law on you at any cost."
At the White House briefing afterward, press secretary Jay Carney said if people couldn’t get access to ObamaCare, they wouldn’t be hit with a penalty. Right now, the law requires Americans to sign up for health insurance if they’re not covered. If they don’t, they’ll be fined.
A senior White House official said over the weekend that about 476,000 have applied for ObamaCare online.
Last Wednesday, Rubio voted against the agreement reached by Senate leadership to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling through the beginning of next year.
“The position the Senate Democrats adopted was, unless we fund ObamaCare, we will fund nothing. I don’t think that’s a reasonable position, but yet that’s the position they’ve adopted and seem to have gotten away with in the eyes of some.”
The senator said he still believes the three-year-old healthcare law, which he dubbed “disastrous,” should be “repealed and replaced.”
Rubio is considered a major contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
— This story was updated at 2:52 p.m.