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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today introduced legislation to delay the implementation of the individual mandate under the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2015. The bill would eliminate the $95 penalty that will go into effect in 2014 under current law. 

“Since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, there have been many identifiable problems exposed in the law that need to be addressed,” Senator Manchin said. “We’ve worked through a few of these issues, but our job in Congress is far from over. We need to start working together to fix this law and make it work so that all Americans have access to affordable and reliable health care coverage. We can start with a one-year delay of the individual mandate to eliminate penalty fees if individuals choose to not enroll for a health care plan in 2014. This commonsense proposal simply allows Americans to take more time to browse and explore their options, making 2014 a true transition year.”

“Healthcare should not be a burden on consumers, which is why we must delay the penalty for individuals,” Senator Kirk said. “Last July, American businesses were given more time to provide employees health coverage. If a delay is good enough for businesses, it should be good enough for all Americans.”

Key Findings in Manchin-Kirk Bill:

1. Congress must ensure that healthcare is affordable and accessible;

2. Political disagreements must be set aside so that Congress and the President can work together to improve healthcare quality, access and affordability;

3. Affordable access to preventative care can provide enormous benefits and reduce overall costs to all Americans, young and old;

4. Individuals and families are ultimately responsible and accountable for their own well-being and long-term health, and our laws should reflect this reality;

5. Subscribing to a healthy lifestyle should be a goal for all Americans, and Congress should act in an appropriate and responsible manner to make this goal achievable;

6. There are many positive reforms included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that are improving coverage, ending discrimination, and reducing costs. Requiring insurers to cover pre-existing conditions, maternity care, and emergency services and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 are examples of positive reforms in the Act that must continue to be implemented.

7. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize when a new program is not meeting the high standards that the American people expect. So far, the federal healthcare exchanges have failed, and we must deliver a better product;

8. While every program must go through a transition period, no individual or family should be penalized while the problems in new healthcare exchanges are being addressed;

9. Congress should work toward fixing these flaws and ensuring the new programs are strong, while giving the American people a transition period; and

10. Delaying the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not an appropriate or responsible action, but Congress should not hesitate to enact commonsense reforms, such as an individual mandate transition year, to improve this important legislation.

Legislative actions Senator Manchin supports to repair the Affordable Care Act:

1099 Provision: Removes requirement that would force businesses, charities and churches to file excess forms and filings with IRS.
• Senator Manchin was the lead cosponsor of the legislation, which successfully repealed this provision in 2011.

One-Year Delay of Individual Mandate: Delays individual mandate provision for one year to eliminate penalty fees for not signing up for healthcare coverage, which would give consumers a true transition year.
• Senator Manchin sponsored the legislation.

Full Time Workweek Definition Extends to 40-Hours: Changes the definition of a full-time workweek under the law from 30 to 40 hours, which would help small businesses and prevent employees from having their hours reduced.
• Senator Manchin cosponsored the legislation.

Grandfather Current Health Care Plans: Allows individuals to stay on their current health care plans and prevents insurers from cancelling coverage currently offered if policyholders would like to continue with their existing plans.
• Senator Manchin cosponsored the legislation.

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