WORDS FROM WASHINGTON
As we near the fourth anniversary of President Barack Obama signing his signature health care law, residents in Central Washington and throughout the country are now feeling the pains and unintended consequences of Obamacare.
Americans now understand what then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi meant when she boasted, “…we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
In recent months, even some of the President’s staunchest allies, like former Democrat Senator Max Baucus, have joined the chorus of discontent - calling Obamacare a “train wreck.”
With each passing day, the Obama Administration has reluctantly acknowledged the shortcomings of the law by delaying or changing unpopular elements of Obamacare more than a dozen times.
Over the last year, the Obama Administration has:
…Signed a bill into law repealing a new federal entitlement program created by the Obamacare law, because it had been deemed financially unworkable.
…Announced a one-year delay of the federal health program for individuals with incomes just above the expanded Medicaid threshold.
…Announced the insurance marketplaces won’t be able to handle a menu of health plans, and restricted employers to offering only a single health plan, even when the law says small businesses can provide employees with a variety of options.
…Delayed for one year the law’s requirement that employers provide coverage to workers.
…Launched a national health exchange website plagued with malfunctions and security vulnerabilities before it was ready for primetime, forcing the Administration to push back the deadline for individuals to purchase health coverage and avoid a penalty.
…Known for at least three years that the high-profiled pledge, “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it” was not true and that millions of Americans would receive cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare.
…Allowed states to let individuals keep their policies for another year, after insurers began cancelling plans that didn’t meet the law’s requirements.
…Delayed the small business exchange for another year.
…Extended the original deadline to purchase health coverage three times.
…Delayed, for a third time - now until 2016 - the requirement that businesses with 50 or more employees provide coverage.
…Announced that individuals with plans that don’t comply with Obamacare could now keep their existing plan until as late as October 2016, avoiding a new round of cancellations right before the 2014 Congressional election.
Make no mistake, I have long-believed that government-run health care is not the answer and that we need real health reforms that put patients first, lower costs and improve patient outcomes.
One simply doesn’t need to look any further than President Obama’s recent actions to circumvent Congress and pick and choose to delay key parts of the law to determine the law isn’t working.
The fact is, in spite of President Obama’s efforts to delay unpopular parts of the law, Obamacare has caused increased costs and loss of health care plans for millions of Americans.
House Republicans have remained united in their opposition to Obamacare and have supported more than 50 proposals - many with Democrat support - to repeal, defund or replace this unworkable government-run health care program. This year, the House will continue to put forward, with my support, common-sense solutions that will protect the American people from this “train wreck” law and instead focus on patient-centered health reforms.
‑ U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington’s Fourth Congressional District.