Begich Pushes For Extension For Health Care Sign Up Period

U.S. Senator Mark Begich says he still supports the Affordable Care Act but he recently joined nine other Senate Democrats in asking the Obama administration to extend the sign-up period.

Begich says it’s only fair because the government’s online insurance marketplace has been plagued with technical problems.

“My view is the individual shouldn’t be penalized because government can’t get it together here and get on the website,” Begich said. “So my view is for each one of those weeks that’s delayed on the front end we should extend out the enrollment period for people to have enough time to enroll.”

The administration did extend the enrollment deadline for six weeks, until March 31. A letter Begich signed calls for another extension.

The letter, originated by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, doesn’t specify a new date, but Begich says he doesn’t think much – if any – more time would be needed and he doesn’t believe it would weaken the healthcare program.

An insurance industry group, though, has said another extension would add to its costs and possibly increase prices for 2015.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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