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Healthcare.gov Delays Small Business Enrollment for a Year

Another delay just days ahead of a self-imposed deadline to expand hardware capacity and fix software bugs for the Obamacare website.
WASHINGTON, DC -- With just two days to go before a self-imposed deadline to get the Obamacare website working  right, there's another delay.

The Obama Administration now says that Healthcare.gov won't be able to enroll small businesses for another year, after promising this too would be ready.

"Will the shop web site for small businesses that was delayed be fully functional during November?" asked Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) Texas, during an October 29 Congressional hearing.

"Yes.  We will institute the shop component at the end of November," answered Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Republicans were quick to pounce on the administration for announcing another delay just before the thanksgiving holiday.

House majority leader Eric Cantor; "Once again, President Obama has unilaterally delayed another major portion of Obamacare, and once again, he has tried to bury bad news around a holiday, hoping nobody will notice."

Small businesses shopping for healthcare will be able to use "direct enrollment" with an insurer, agent or broker.

But during a conference call with reporters, the administration was downplaying overall expectations.

"To be clear, Nov. 30th does not represent a re-launch of healthcare.gov. It is not a magical date.

The spokeswoman admits, there will be times after November 30th when the website does not function properly....

Programmers still have a lot of work to do.

The goal: Make sure it can handle 50,000 users at one time - yet there might be times when demand exceeds that...

And consumers will be directed to a virtual waiting line.


(Jill Dougherty for CNN)


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