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Thune calls for one-year delay of Obamacare plan

The roll-out of President Obama’s key policy initiative has been so bad that even his fellow Democrats are starting to waver in their support of the healthcare reform known as Obamacare, said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

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“The pressure’s really starting to build on them. This thing is not ready to go, and Democrats are THUNE coming around to that point of view,” Thune said. “A lot of fanfare has resulted from the disastrous website roll-out. And it’s much more, as the president said, than a website. There are problems with the underlying policy, not just with the website.”

Sen. John Thune  Wednesday, Thune called for a one-year delay in the program, including imposing penalties on individuals who fail to buy health insurance.

That would at least be fair, Thune said, since the Obama administration already has granted businesses a one-year delay in providing insurance to employees through Obamacare.

“We ought to delay the entire bill for a year. That would be good for the American people and it would be fair,” Thune said. “Why wouldn’t we treat individuals and middle class families the same way?”

Perhaps worse than a website that thwarts most users who attempt to buy insurance through the Obamacare online exchange are the cancellations of existing insurance policies that do not meet new minimum coverage requirements.

“People were told they get to keep what they have — that’s the promise the president made. As early as 2010, they knew that wasn’t true,” Thune said. “There will be (new) policies available to people, but they are going to be way more costly. People are not going to be able to afford them. These are the devastating effects these policies are having.”

While Thune’s call Wednesday was only for a delay in implementing Obamacare, he hinted that Republicans might still try to replace what they see as a hopelessly complex program.

“This was destined to crumble all along,” Thune said. “If we could get to the point where we realize we need a do-over ...”

Thune said some reforms are needed to America’s health insurance system, and he cited specifically the widespread practice of insurance companies denying coverage to anyone who has a pre-existing condition.

“There’s a better way to (fix) that,” Thune said. “It is a problem, but it should be dealt with in a way that doesn’t involve taking over one-sixth of the American economy.”