U.S. Senator Roy Blunt says the troubled federal health insurance exchange website is the easiest thing the Obama Administration will be able to do as more of the Affordable Care Act is rolled out. KSMU's Scott Harvey reports.
Blunt addressed officials inside the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce Friday, a day after contractors for the glitch-prone site defended their work before a congressional panel.
The Republican Senator from Missouri cautions that once the website consistently works, that will not mean the healthcare plan itself will be effective.
“If you know you have to have the insurance, you’re gonna stay on the website as long as it takes. Weeks, months, whatever it is until you get it to work,” Blunt said. “If you haven’t had insurance and you wanna check and see how much it would cost, and you’re really pretty healthy and young and don’t need it, you’re probably not gonna spend the rest of your life on that website.”
Efforts by House Republicans to defund the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, led to the 16 day government shutdown. Blunt, who was among the majority of senators to approve a continuing resolution which restarted the government last week; says some arguments are worth having, even if you know you’re going to lose, but “don’t convince people you’re gonna win.”
“The President signing a bill that would eliminate the healthcare effort, the Affordable Care Act, was not gonna happen now either. So be thoughtful about the kind of fight you get into.”
Blunt did say he thinks there’s an argument to be made over delaying implementation of the individual mandate, adding that President Obama has already delayed the employer penalty deadline until 2015. On Wednesday, the White House said people have until March 31 to sign up in order to avoid a penalty. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is drafting a bill to delay the mandate for a year.
Noting his love for the nation, Blunt added that he’d be “pleased to be proven wrong” on his claims that the Affordable Care Act will have both bad economic and bad healthcare consequences.