CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is working on legislation that would remove the teeth from the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," for one year.
"He's working on legislation to delay the penalty," said Jonathan Kott, Manchin's spokesman.
The individual mandate, a critical and controversial provision in the Affordable Care Act, requires everyone to have health insurance.
President Barack Obama's administration has not been clear about when any penalties will start taking affect, and some people are exempt from the penalty. The Associated Press recently reported those interested in the insurance must sign up by mid-February 2014 in order to meet the March 31 sign-up deadline.
The penalty for having no coverage in the first year of the law is $95 or 1 percent of a person's taxable income, whichever is greater, according to an Internal Revenue Service regulation issued in August. That penalty jumps to $325 or 2 percent of a person's taxable income the next year, with the dollar amount and percentage increasing in subsequent years.
Manchin wants to eliminate any penalty for the first year, Kott said. The penalty for the second year would remain the same, he said.
Kott said he wasn't sure when the bill would be introduced and provided few other details about the proposed legislation.
Although he told the Daily Mail he wasn't immediately sure about co-sponsors for the legislation, Politico reports Kott said Manchin is working with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., on the bill.
Manchin was scheduled to appear Wednesday night on the Fox News television show "The O'Reilly Factor" with Bill O'Reilly to further discuss the bill, according to Roll Call, Politico and others.
Manchin has repeatedly said he does not like the individual mandate.