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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Congressional Delegation Says It's Too Soon To Delay Health Care Law

Legislation that postpones some key parts of President Obama’s health care law could be debated in Congress in the near future.

The bill would allow individuals to keep their current coverage if they want to, or they still could purchase policies on the exchange to take advantage of federal subsidies.

Senator Patrick Leahy says it’s too soon to make changes in the Affordable Care Act.

Let us see where we are at the end of November. I think it would be far more difficult not to have a delay at that time - Senator Patrick Leahy

“They claim that they’re going to have it better by the end of November if they don’t they have a real problem,” said Leahy. “I’m concerned that they had a problem with this and never told the President. You don’t expect him to be his own IT manager but they should have. I think the mistakes were very difficult and create real problems.”

Leahy says Senate Democratic leaders have been very blunt with the President about their concerns. He says delays in the law may be needed if the problems aren’t fixed.

“Let’s see where we are at the end of November. I think it would be far more difficult not to have a delay at that time,” said Leahy.

Senator Bernie Sanders says he’s very frustrated by the technical problems that have plagued the federal exchange but he says he doesn’t want to make major alterations at this time.

“What I think we need to do is take a look in the next several weeks to see the kind of progress that’s being made,” said Sanders. “And if progress is not being made in a sufficient way we can address that.”

And Sanders says it’s important to remember that the law has already had “some successes.”

“In eliminating this disaster of pre-existing conditions which is an obscenity, of making sure that kids 26 years of age or younger can stay with their parents’ plans,” said Sanders. “And of ending discrimination against women in terms of the pricing of health insurance, etc.”

Congressman Peter Welch also has concerns about the operations of the federal health care website.

“If the website isn’t fixed it’s going to jeopardize the full implementation of the program,” said Welch. “You can’t hold an individual responsible for the failure of the government to get the website up and running."

Welch says he’s optimistic that the website’s technical problems will be fixed by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the political debate over delaying the federal health care law has become more difficult for many Democrats because former President Bill Clinton is now backing a plan to allow individuals to keep their current policies.