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U.S. House Democrat Pelosi: Do not delay health care program, fix it

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration should focus on fixing problems with the launch of government-run online health care insurance exchanges instead of delaying an enrollment deadline for the program, U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday.

"I think we should be able to go forward. I'm more optimistic than that. I have faith in technology and while there are glitches, there are solutions as well," Pelosi, a California congresswoman, told reporters.

Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida told MSNBC that she believed there "should absolutely be an openness" extending the deadline for enrolling in Obamacare.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, on Tuesday wrote President Barack Obama to urge him to extend the open enrollment period past March 31, 2014. The 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as "Obamacare," is expected to provide health coverage to an estimated 7 million uninsured Americans through online marketplaces that opened for enrollment in all 50 states on October 1.

Shaheen suggested extending open enrollment to "provide greater flexibility for the American people seeking to access health insurance." Shaheen also asked the White House, in light of difficulties with the Healthcare.gov website, to clarify how one provision of the law - that all Americans obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty starting next year - will be administered and enforced.

(Reporting by Caren Bohan and David Lawder; Editing by Vicki Allen and Grant McCool)

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