By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, October 1, Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, released a statement to mark the one year anniversary of the failed launch of Healthcare.gov and the troubled Obamacare program.
Representative Roby said, “One year after the failed launch of Healthcare.gov, Americans are still experiencing the failures of Obamacare. So many of you reached out to share with me your stories of cancelled plans, skyrocketing costs and more hardship for your families. Now higher premiums and co-pays are the ‘new normal’ all because of what was called the ‘Affordable Care Act.’”
Rep. Roby said, “Remember “if you like your health plan you can keep your health plan?” Remember how the President continued to double down on this ‘lie of the year’ even after it was demonstrably proven to be false? I haven’t forgotten, and I won’t forget the distrust and financial burden that middle class families are left with due to Obamacare.”
Rep. Roby referred constituent to a colleague’s, Representative Michael Burgess (R from Texas), column. Burgess is a medical doctor who practiced for 25 years.
Congressman/Dr. Burgess wrote on Monday, September 29, “My father and grandfather were doctors before me. Our primary concern was providing the best possible care for our patients, but that is no longer possible. Obamacare, whose online enrollment opened amid widespread crashes one year ago today, is killing the health care profession with high premiums and unstable coverage. It will continue to negatively impact patient care until we come up with common-sense solutions.”
Rep. Burgess wrote, “Most Republican members of Congress and I agree that repealing Obamacare is the best solution, but we also must face the reality that this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. In 2014, 3.4 million Americans paid higher premiums for their health care, and those premiums will likely double in 2015. Six million Americans had their health plans canceled in 2013, and while these numbers are staggering, there is still no clear number for how many uninsured have gained coverage — the original mission of Obamacare.”
Recent polls show that most Americans agree with Republicans on the President’s healthcare reform effort. According to the latest Rasmussen poll released on Monday, September 29 over half of voters are continuing to express an unfavorable opinion of the national health care law and overwhelming majorities are still calling for choices in health insurance that the Obamacare does not allow.
Only 42 percent of likely U.S. voters have a favorable view of the health care law, while 52 percent continue to view it unfavorably. While just 19 percent reported that they have a “Very Favorable” opinion of Obama’s healthcare law, 37 percent reported that their view of the plan was, “Very Unfavorable.” The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 27-28, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
The plan was forced on the people by a narrow Democratic congressional majority without any popular vote or any vote of the state legislatures.
Most states have tried to block implementation of the federal takeover through the courts, with limited success to this point.
According to an original report by Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn, a federal judge in Oklahoma has ruled that Obamacare subsidies cannot go to residents of states, like Alabama, that refused to run their own healthcare insurance exchanges.
Judge Ronald A. White wrote, “The court holds that the IRS rule is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said, “Today’s ruling is a consequential victory for the rule of law,” he said in a statement. “The administration and its bureaucrats in the IRS handed out billions in illegal tax credits and subsidies and vastly expanded the reach of the health care law because they didn’t like the way Congress wrote the Affordable Care Act. That’s not how our system of government works.”
A previous ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals, similar to Judge White’s ruling, however was vacated when they put the issue to the full court instead of a three judge panel. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. has ruled with the Obama administration defending the power of the federal government to pay the costly subsidies to insurance companies. At this time, the U.S. Supreme Court has not agreed to hear appeals to this case.
For persons seeking to purchase health insurance on the individual market or those who seek to change their coverage, the next enrollment period begins on October 15. The enrollment period is supposed to end on December 7, but last year the enrollment period was extended repeatedly and lasted well into April. You are not allowed to purchase Obamacare compliant healthcare insurance outside of your enrollment period, unless you experience a qualifying event like a: marriage, a divorce, a death in the household, you lose coverage from an employer, the loss of Medicaid eligibility, you move outside of your coverage area, the birth of a child, etc.
Subsidies are available in the form of advance tax credits for people who make too much to qualify for expanded Medicaid, but according to government estimates, are too low income to pay for their insurance themselves.
The employer mandate that will affect far more Americans has been postponed so as not to hinder Democrats’ prospects in the November midterm elections. Parts of Obamacare will not be fully implemented until after President Obama is out of office.
Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District.