The Obama administration has delayed another component of the federal health care law, leading a Republican lawmaker to call the law’s implementation a “train wreck.”
Reuters first reported that the Department of Health and Human Services informed insurance companies Tuesday it is delaying signing the final agreements between the government and insurance providers whose plans will be sold on federal health insurance exchanges.
The agreements were supposed to be signed between Sept. 5 and 9, but instead will be delayed until mid-September.
The department did not give a clear-cut reason for the delay, but attributed it to the need to be flexible in working with the insurance companies and to resolve unspecified technical issues.
“We remain on track to open the marketplace on time on October 1,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters told Fox Business Network.
However, some experts tell Reuters even a small delay could affect the Oct. 1 start of ObamaCare’s six-month enrollment period, and alter the timetable for the implementation as a whole.
The new timetable for the insurance agreements is only the latest in a series of delays for ObamaCare.
In June, the White House announced it was delaying the employer mandate, a major provision of the law that requires companies with over 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance or pay a penalty, for one year.
One GOP lawmaker said Wednesday the “avalanche” of delays associated with ObamaCare should make every American “anxious” about purchasing health plans under the new law.
"I've been warning that a train wreck is coming with this law, but the truth is that no train wreck has ever had this many warning signs,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R.-Tenn., said.
In July, Alexander and other senior Republicans on the U.S. Senate and House health policy committees sent a letter to the White House to urge the administration to make public all data they have on the new health plan agreements and their costs, in order to allow families and businesses adequate time to budget.