Advocacy / Politics

Health Subcommittee Performs Check-Up on ObamaCare

By – Peter A. Finocchio

On Wednesday, September 10th, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health convened to evaluate the implementation status of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as ObamaCare, by engaging two high-ranking Obama Administration officials tasked with key roles in its rollout.  These two officials, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and Principal Deputy Administrator for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Andy Slavitt, responded to questions by concerned members of the Committee.  Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) remarked that the hearing would grant the opportunity to “judge results rather than the rhetoric.”

Chairman Brady opened the meeting by affirming that the ACA’s implementation has not only failed to fix health care, but has made it even worse.  Millions of families have lost their doctor and have seen their premiums spike because of ObamaCare’s taxes and regulations.  The rollout has been disastrous, there have been numerous delays, and paperwork has gone missing.  A hacking of the website in July, furthermore, put the personal information of millions of Americans at risk.  Chairman Brady also accused the Administration of “exempting special interests and politically favored friends from portions of the law.” “That certainly doesn’t sound fair to me, and that is why this White House has lost my confidence,” the Texas Republican concluded.

Republicans also noted the withering trust between the American people and the Obama Administration.  Of all the Administration’s shortcomings with this law, Chairman Brady held that the worst of all was that many Americans have lost trust in our government when it comes to keeping its promises.  Congressman Brady asked Slavitt how his office was working to address the trust issue.  Slavitt outlined a three-step process of transparency, accountability, and “straight talk.”  The Chairman appreciated Slavitt’s efforts to restore trust, but continues to believe that the law is both poorly designed and poorly written.  Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) agreed that “naturally there’s some credibility that needs to be restored.”

While Republican members raised concerns over ObamaCare’s less than stellar track record and urged the Administration to work to rebuild the public trust, their Democratic colleagues blamed the law’s shortcomings on “Republican sabotage.”  Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-WA) argued that ObamaCare “suffered due to Republican propaganda, senseless repeal votes, and harmful budget cuts.”  He opined that the bill had survived “the Republicans’ best efforts at sabotage.”  Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), while stating he had “a great amount of respect for… the other side,” accused Republicans of trying to starve the bill in order to kill it.  “You know what’s going on here,” he told Koskinen and Slavitt, “If you can’t shoot the dog, starve it.”

In addition to blaming Republicans, Democrats also pivoted from the Administration’s failures by presenting a false choice between ObamaCare and the health care system as it was prior to its enactment.   Congressman McDermott stated that before the ACA was enacted, 46 million Americans were uninsured and 45,000 had died because they lacked coverage to treat their health needs.  McDermott held that prior to ObamaCare, “insurance companies could have hiked up rates with impunity” and refused to cover preexisting conditions.  The Washington Democrat also said that the “smart states,” which had expanded Medicaid through ObamaCare have increased health coverage.

Yet, the reality of these state exchanges is very different than the rosy image painted by Congressman McDermott.  Politico reported earlier this summer that state ObamaCare exchanges in Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland, receiving nearly half a billion dollars in federal money, “are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher.”  According to a White House Council of Economic Advisers report released in early July, the 24 states that have yet to expand Medicaid have saved federal taxpayers $88 billion.

AMAC has strongly opposed ObamaCare since it was first proposed in 2009.  The approximately $716 billion in Medicare cuts that are used to pay for other parts of the bill, such as its dramatic expansion of the Medicaid rolls, are a hard hit on the nation’s senior citizens.  Furthermore, whereas AMAC members understand the need for a simpler tax code, ObamaCare makes tax season even more difficult by requiring those who utilize health care subsidies to file a Form 8962, an entirely new tax form developed in order to enforce ObamaCare’s provisions.  Those who purchase their plan on the marketplace will also need to file a Form 1095-A.  AMAC believes tax filing should involve fewer forms, not more.

AMAC vehemently rejects the Democrats’ false dichotomy between ObamaCare and the preceding health system.  AMAC supports numerous measures that would lower costs through market-friendly reforms and is a chief sponsor of the American Health Care Reform Act,  a bill proposed nearly a year ago and supported by a majority of congressional Republicans that would lower costs by enabling Americans to purchase health care across state lines, reforming medical malpractice laws, allowing individuals and families to deduct health care costs just like companies, and safeguarding patients with preexisting conditions by bolstering state-based high risk pools and extending HIPAA guaranteed availability protections.  AMAC will continue to fight ObamaCare and support real reforms that give American consumers, not the IRS, control over their health care choices.

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Evelyn Hitchcock
8 years ago

Obama Care is a total failure!!!

8 years ago

My husband worked for a defense subcontractor, through which we had health insurance. The prime contractor lost the contract in the spring. In mid-summer we learned that he would be picked up by the new prime contractor, but they offer no health insurance. The government requires them to pay him $3.81 per hour (for up to 40 hrs. per week) so that he may purchase his own, however he receives that before taxes. We had to get permission to buy insurance from the government, because we were buying it “outside the window”. On the Market Place website, I tried to buy the base policy until we had time to find something more to our liking. When I talked to my doctor’s office, I was told that if we had that policy, we would have to go at least 70 miles to find any doctor or hospital that would take it. And that policy was over one thousand dollars a month! (Come to find out, it’s reserved for people under 30 years of age or hardship cases.)
We ended up finding a different company on our own and still bought the base policy. That company tried to tell me we didn’t qualify because we weren’t under 30, but I pointed out that the government said we did due to the “hardship” of losing our insurance which was no fault of our own. We still need a number from Market Place for the IRS and if they don’t grant us a number then we will be fined.
Also,I had to try to estimate our income, and if we make too much money, we will be fined. If we keep this policy for a full year it will cost over $13,000 ( with a $6,500 deductible for each of us) which (if I estimated our income correctly) will be about 18% of our gross income.

Kevin Seitz
8 years ago

If those politicians were to do an honest checkup on OsamaCare, they’d find it was stillborn.

8 years ago

Obamacare was designed to fix a problem that only affected health care providers. It was designed to force people to pay for a service that did not exist. There is no “health” in our health care system, so the whole premise was never making people healthy. It just gives us access to something that doesn’t work!

8 years ago

Obama care was never about government controlling health care costs; it was about government controlling health care!
There is no option in my mind other than full repeal of this abhorrent take over of health care by bureaucrats. Please be aware, I will NOT support any Republican that wants to FIX Obama care. Please note they they have been FIXING VA care for 50 years. I’ve been the VA route. Thanks, but no thanks!

Van Hamlin
8 years ago

Socialized medicine can work. It works relatively smoothly all over the world. Our problem is that we do not have a governmental infrastructure able to accommodate large socialist programs. All of the “gliches” in Obamacare prove that. Most socialist countries have a flat tax. Everyone, including corporations, pay up front. There are no deductions and tax rebates. Once everyone pays their fair share, socialized medicine get easier to implement. Large drug purchases are made directly from manufacturers and distributed through the bureaucracy. Think of the low cost a bulk purchase for all federal government medicine would be. Pool the military, federal employees, medicare, Obamacare and medicaid.The cost is so great that the medical industry do not compete for profit. These facilities and their staffs are more comparable to quasi-public utilities. In other words, it is cheaper for socialist governments to ration health care. Their citizens accept the fact that tests and procedures take longer to schedule and perform than in the USA. The old die from neglect but hey, who cares? Old people are benefit sponges, right?

Our current laws are geared to forcing everyone to have private insurance. The insurance companies made sure Obamacare is all about forcing people to purchase a product if they want it or not. A totally inured America means that hospitals will have no bad debt to write off. It is all about business not about your and my wellness. YOU CAN CHANGE THIS! Vote out those Progressives, in both parties, who voted for this horrible law. These are the same people that voted for Dodd-Frank and endorsed quantitative easing. It is the Progressives that want to confiscate your savings and devalue your currency while they are robbing you of affordable quality health care. SEND a message to congress!

8 years ago
Reply to  Van Hamlin

If the Socialist way works so well why are so many people in Canada and England dying because they have to wait months for getting tests or being denied medications that they need.

8 years ago

Dee: Mr. Obama was a COMMUNITY ORGANIZER in Chicago (where they’re killing each other off by the dozens) – so why would ANYONE think he was capable of instituting a Health care program? He can’t even answer a question without a teleprompter!! The man is an empty suit with a head full of Marxist beliefs he continually shoves down our throats! VOTE VOTE VOTE November 4th — even if it hurts! We have GOT to take the Senate back so that some common sense bills can be passed. There must be 100 or more cob-web covered bills sitting on and around Harry Reid’s desk. He’s as dangerous as Barack Obama!

The ACA was nothing more than a ploy — they went into it knowing full well it wouldn’t work, but rather than just shove Socialized medicine down our throats, they plan to introduce it slowly so we don’t know what hit us.

Ivan Berry
8 years ago
Reply to  KarenFaye

And, KarenFaye, did you know that Hillary was raised just outside Chicago and one of her college disertations was on her hero, Saul Alinski? Al Capone should have run for Pres as well. Might have been an improvement over professional politicians. Sure couldn’t be any bigger a crook than the ones we have now.

Don Cohenour
8 years ago

I am an AMAC member and have had sush bad experiences with the ACA that I have lost total respect for this program!!
My wife and myself have been on local television twice discussing the ACA and the other panel member who was on one of the TV spots with us really opened our eyes!!We had at the time of that TV spot loss approx $800.00,just this week we received another mailer informing us of another $300.00 totaling approx $1100-$1200 m/l;The lady who appeared with us was a nurse and she said they have had patients who have had procedures done thinking they were covered and later found out they in fact were not covered and “bam” a Medical invoice/bill for $25000.00 hit them!!
This is just a small Texas community, you can only do the math and see the unbelievable cost nation wide that the impact
of this ACA can have on hard working and retired Americans!!!!

8 years ago

obamacare is nothing more than a repackaged hillarycare with a different stooge pushing this garbage. Socialized medicine that benefits everyone except those who need it and can’t afford it You can be sure of that when you see the left wing AARP lobbyists promoting it. Lets see an R candidate run on elimination of the I.R.S.,{ which is equivalent to a completely useless and unnecessary hemorrhoid}, to be replaced with a fair or flat tax and a no border medical coverage system. I also believe in the tooth fairy.

8 years ago

I don’t believe Obama knew how to create a heath care system that would work. He really wants socialism.

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