Democrats' Unity Splintering In Wake of Obamacare Glitches

Website troubles put pressure on vulnerable Democrats to do something about Obamacare.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. participates in a news conference about a proposed line-item veto, at the U.S. Capitol, on Feb. 8, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
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Washington is accustomed to the infighting within the Republican Party as tea party factions and establishment politicians fight for the heart and soul of the party.

But now its Democrats who are divided, with many from conservative-leaning states fed up with a sloppy Obamacare rollout. So much so that some are taking matters into their own hands, leaving the party that was united in its strategy during a government shutdown cracking at the seams.

[READ: Democrats Ask to Delay Obamacare Deadline]

During the shutdown, Republicans demanded a delay of Obamacare and the individual mandate in exchange for passing a federal funding bill. Democrats refused to negotiate arguing a budget bill was not the right place to change policy.

Now that the government has reopened, however, some Democrats want to get ahead of what Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., once predicted would be a "train wreck."

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a wild card in his own party, announced he'd introduce a bill to delay the individual mandate requirement by one year during an appearance on Fox News Wednesday night.

Manchin's working alongside Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to ensure Americans won't be penalized for not buying health insurance by the March deadline, signalling he has three of four other Democrats who may be willing to work alongside him.

"Let's fix this thing," Manchin said during an appearance on the O'Reilly Factor . "Affordable health care was never meant to be if you've got insurance now you are going to have to buy insurance that is more costly and not as good. That has to be fixed."

After a 16-day government shutdown, Republicans are far from being in good shape in the polls, but the GOP appears energized by the Democrats' growing disunity.

House Speaker John Boehner's, R-Ohio, office highlighted a list of Democrats who had expressed concerns for the Affordable Care Act and has advocated the administration delay the individual mandate.

"Even the president's Democratic allies are losing faith," Boehner's office said on its website, citing quotes from Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., and a handful of others.

[VOTE: Should Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Deadline Be Delayed?]

"Americans are already suffering under the president's deeply-flawed health care law. Adding to that a penalty for not purchasing a product from a system the White House failed to make accurate and accessible is not only unfair, it's absurd," Boehner argues. "It's heartening that several Democrats are willing to acknowledge that. The White House should do the same."

Democrat strategist Celinda Lake cautions Democrats from spending a lot of time focused on the website failures.

"Democrats have to be very weary of getting sucked into the discussion of glitches and forgetting the bigger picture here," Lake says, arguing that people don't have to even log on to a website to get some of the benefits of Obamacare like not being discriminated against for pre-existing conditions.

"I think Democrats are really falling into a trap here," Lake says.

But there are elections at stake.

Searching for solutions has become the mantra for Democrats who hail from conservative states. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., who faces re-election in 2014, signed onto a bill that would repeal the medical device tax, a 2.3 percent levy in September.

Democrats are frustrated with the White House for promising a smooth Obamacare implementation and instead making headlines for frozen webpages and long wait times on healthcare.gov.

Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., both of whom are also on the ballot in 2014, think the White House should push back the open enrollment deadline.

"Given the technical issues, it makes sense to extend the time for people to sign up," Pryor said in a released statement.

Lake argues that those who are experiencing the computer complications, however, are not regular voters anyway. She estimates that between 90 and 93 percent of voters are insured already and those are the people who regularly make it out to the polls.