Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.), who is up for re-election in 2014, said in a Thursday statement that the $95 penalty on individuals who fail to enroll in a health insurance plan should be waived for two months. That penalty starts at $95 for 2014 tax returns.A few hours earlier, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) said in a television interview that the U.S. needs to consider delaying the penalty, which as at the heart of the 2010 law designed to prod Americans without health insurance into buying coverage.
That brings us up to seven Democratic senators now pushing for delay of the penalty. The delay of the penalty isn’t technically the same thing as delay of the individual mandate, but a toothless mandate is more or less useless, so they amount to the same thing.The irony here, of course, is that delaying Obamacare was one of the central goals of the GOP going into the shutdown. That gambit obviously failed, but it now looks like the natural progression of the botched rollout is gradually succeeding in creating a bipartisan push for delay.The GOP must be wondering how much more progress they might have made towards delay at this point if they had dropped the shutdown tactics and let the implementation speak for itself.