It’s now been officially one month since President Obama launched his health insurance exchange and broken website. Over the past few weeks, it’s become clear that the problems with the health care law go well beyond a failed website. The technical problems are just the tip of the iceberg.
Nearly every promise made by the Obama administration has been broken.
The president’s latest speeches and the testimony of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have just amounted to more spin.
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People are finding their plans are not as cheap as a cell phone bill.
Their family’s doctors may not even be covered by their new insurance.
President Obama should admit to the American people that his law doesn’t provide the affordable, accessible health care coverage that they wanted all along. Then he should come to the table with Republicans to give people the real health care reform that they need, that they want, and that they deserve.
As we all remember, President Obama also promised repeatedly that if you liked the insurance you had, you could keep it. It turns out that only if the White House likes your plan can you keep it – if not, you’re out of luck. In fact, the Administration knew for years that up to 16 million people across the country could lose their insurance. Rather than being honest with the American people, they chose to hide the problem.
Now millions of people who are getting cancellation letters from their insurance company know the truth. In New Jersey alone, 800,000 cancellation letters have gone out.
When these people and others start shopping for new insurance, many will find the premiums are much higher. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina told one customer that his current plan doesn’t meet benefit requirements of the President’s health care law. It suggested a comparable plan for $1,208 a month – $980 more than he pays now.
A woman in California faced a 50 percent rate hike. She wrote to her insurance company, “I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it.”
For a lot of people, the law means more than skyrocketing premiums. Their new policies will come with higher co-pays and bigger deductibles – triple what they have now in some cases.
After people recover from the sticker shock of their new Washington-approved and mandated insurance, there will be more negative consequences. Many will find that their own doctor is no longer eligible to treat them under their plan. A recent survey of physician practices found that only 29 percent say they’ll take insurance sold through the government exchange. The rest have either decided not to participate or are still making up their minds.
Finally, if all that weren’t bad enough, people trying to buy insurance through the exchange face increased risk of fraud and identity theft. Con artists are taking advantage of the Obama Administration’s bungling by setting up fake websites and phishing scams.
The Democrats’ whole law was based on the idea that government is capable of running America’s health care system competently. It turns out that the government can’t even set up a website competently – and they knew it.
The Obama administration also knows that it will have to delay implementation of the individual mandate by at least a year. The failure has been too widespread to fix quickly. This delay needs to be approved by Congress through the regular legislative process. It should not be another case where the President waves his magic wand to change the law how he wants, when he wants.
Democrats got the American people into this mess unilaterally. It’s time for a bipartisan solution to get us out.
Republican John Barrasso represents Wyoming in the U.S. Senate. He serves in the Senate as a member of both the Energy and Environment Committees. Follow him on Twitter@SenJohnBarrasso.