At a Thursday afternoon press conference, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi was asked by THE WEEKLY STANDARD if Obamacare should be delayed in whole or in part if healthcare.gov still isn't working in November or December.
"No, no," Pelosi replied. "It has nothing to do with the programmatic part. It's about technology."
But some experts have warned that if the technology isn't working weeks or months from now, Obamacare's federal insurance exchange could be thrown into a "death spiral." To function, the exchange needs enough young and healthy people to sign up, and if the healthcare.gov website isn't working, the people most likely to take the additional time and effort to sign up will be old and sick.
On Thursday, Pelosi dismissed concerns about the continued failure of healthcare.gov causing a health insurance "death spiral," saying, "No, no, I don't think so."
It isn't entirely clear how long the administration has to fix the website without causing serious problems. "For now, the failure [of healthcare.gov] has mostly been a PR nightmare for the administration. But it has the potential to cascade into a crisis for real people if challenges continue too long," Politico reported Wednesday. "Some industry officials point to Nov. 1 as a potential test for the system. That’s the day when the federal exchange is due to transfer thousands of Medicaid applications to state agencies."
House speaker John Boehner has cited the website's failure as a reason to delay the individual mandate. Under Obamacare, Americans who don't have health insurance will be fined $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is higher, if they don't purchase it by February 15.
“How can we tax people for not buying a product from a website that doesn't work?” Boehner asked on October 9.