By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, June 23, Congresswoman Martha Roby said that the US House of Representatives is monitoring the Supreme Court’s upcoming vote on the fate of Obamacare subsidies and announced that the House has voted to repeal the controversial IPAB Board, provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (commonly called Obamacare).
US Representative Roby said in a statement, “Remember these promises from President Obama about his healthcare law? “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan…” “If you like your doctor you will be able to keep your doctor…” “We’ll lower premiums…” “No family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increases.”
Rep. Roby continued, “To many Alabamians these promises are unforgettable because they turned out to be untrue. Under Obamacare, many in Alabama and throughout the country did lose the health plans they liked. Many were forced to go to different doctors, to say nothing of the doctors who stopped practicing altogether. Premiums skyrocketed, and yes, many middle class families are impacted by new taxes, fees and penalties.”
The conservative Montgomery Congresswoman wrote, “Last week, I shared with you the bill that the House passed to repeal one harmful provision of Obamacare, the Medical Device Tax. HR160 passed with strong bipartisan support, and this week we have a chance to repeal another harmful aspect of Obamacare.”
Rep. Roby said, “IPAB, or the Independent Payment Advisory Board, is a panel of unelected bureaucrats whose sole purpose is to recommend cuts to Medicare, without Congress’ input. We’ve garnered strong bipartisan support on this bill that I proudly co-sponsored, and I look forward to its passage later this afternoon.”
Following passage of House Resolution 1190, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, Rep. Roby said, “We cannot allow senior patients to suffer because of this poorly-constructed Obamacare provision,” Rep. Roby said. “The IPAB panel would have far-reaching power to determine where and how Medicare should be cut, with little to no input from Congress. This board of bureaucrats should not be left to make critical health care decisions on behalf of America’s seniors, and I am proud to work alongside my colleagues to block this harmful provision.”
Rep. Roby concluded, “Soon, the Supreme Court will rule in the pivotal King v. Burwell case, which could expose yet another broken promise of Obamacare and cause thousands in Alabama to lose subsidies they were promised, but not afforded under the law. My colleagues in the House and I are carefully following this case and discussing legislation that will be needed to deal with the aftermath. I will keep you updated on any developments. More to come over the next week.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner said in a statement on Tuesday, “The president’s health care law vastly expands the role of government in the health care system, and the result has been higher premiums, canceled health plans, and sky-high out-of-pocket costs. With that track record, the last thing we ought to do is give a group of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats sweeping authority to decide what care our seniors need. Experts warn that the IPAB panel will ‘absolutely’ have an impact on health care providers’ ability to treat patients, forcing them to limit services or stop seeing patients all together. I’m glad the House has taken another step to protect seniors’ access to care, and I encourage the Senate to follow suit.”
Some conservatives fear that a moderate GOP in Congress might prop up Obamacare to keep the unpopular health care plan from collapsing if the Supreme Court rules against the controversial healthcare reform legislation.
Noah Wall with Freedomworks said in an email to activists, “I’ve been talking to activists around the country. And they’re scared. King v. Burwell will be decided in less than 10 days. And they’re scared that legislators will save ObamaCare. We need to make sure that anyone who says they’re a conservative doesn’t vote to save ObamaCare. We need to make sure Congress hears you. We have to show them they cannot save ObamaCare. And you need to remind your congressmen, they work for you. Tell your congressmen don’t save ObamaCare, stop it!”
Meanwhile President Obama has expressed confidence that the Court will again find in his favor saying that it is an “easy” case and questioned why the U.S. Supreme Court took up the matter in the first place.
Alabama and a number of other states opted out of starting expensive insurance exchanges after realizing that the added costs would be a massive burden to the states. Rather than allowing these states to opt out of the program, the administration created a federal exchange. According to some legal analysts, the federal government was not supposed to subsidize the insurance for low income enrollees but did anyway, essentially changing the law administratively rather than fixing the problem with legislation.
The plaintiffs in King versus Burwell are arguing that the taxpayer subsidies for persons of modest means are being paid to insurance companies illegally in states that don’t have a state exchange.
If the court rules for the plaintiffs, the result would be mixed. People with modest means would lose the subsidies that many rely on to pay for their healthcare insurance. For millions of uninsured it would save them money because they would potentially no longer have to pay the Obamacare tax penalties. It would also free millions to get a much more affordable catastrophic plan that doesn’t have all the expensive provisions of an Affordable Care Act compliant policy. If millions of people fled the Obamacare compliant plans to go to catastrophic plans or no plans at all, it likely would mean that people trapped in their current ACA policy would have to pay even more as the healthy flee the plans.
Congresswoman Roby said, “I will continue to work toward patient-centered reforms that can actually lower costs without the government taking over the health care system.”
HR1190 passed by a vote of 244-154.