Republicans pounced heavily Tuesday on President Barack Obama's assurances that Americans should not be discouraged by the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov, charging that the troubled website still proved that Obamacare needed to be scrapped altogether.
"The president’s healthcare law continues to wreak havoc on American families, small businesses and our economy," House Speaker John Boehner said. "And it’s not just a broken website.
"This bill is fundamentally flawed, causing people to lose the doctor of their choice, causing them to lose their health plan," added Boehner, who represents Ohio. "And if that isn’t enough, they’re having to pay much higher prices at the same time.
"So, House Republicans are going to continue to listen to our constituents, listen to the American people, and try to focus on protecting them from a fundamentally flawed law."
In light of new revelations that as many as a third of the 149,000 Americans who have been able to sign up for coverage through the website may not get health insurance
at the beginning of the year, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor asked, "What else are they hiding?"
"While the White House wants to claim that HealthCare.gov is now working, we know that Obamacare is still plagued with problems," the Virginia congressman said. "Every American deserves relief from it while this administration finally comes clean and explains why and how Americans are impacted by this law.
"This is not something that is helping Americans; it is harming those people who need help most right now."
In a speech at the White House, President Obama
encouraged Americans to continue seeking insurance through Healthcare.gov and promised to fix whatever new glitches might occur.
"Do not let the initial problems with the website discourage you because it's working better now," Obama told an audience of supporters of the law. "And it's going to keep on working better over time."
He also blasted Republicans for their steady attacks on the Affordable Care Act. The GOP, he said, is "rooting for this law to fail" and have offered no alternatives other than repealing his signature domestic policy achievement.
"We're not going back," Obama said.
"If you've got good ideas, bring them to me, let's go," he said. "But we're not repealing it as long as I'm president."
The president's speech was part of a three-week effort by the White House and Democrats to highlight Obamacare's advantages.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky likened Obama's speech to "another campaign-style event" that "won’t solve the myriad problems facing consumers under Obamacare.
"Consumers didn’t need another 20,000 pages of regulations and higher premiums and deductibles to let a 25-year old stay on his parents’ plan — and they really didn’t need Obamacare’s cancellation of millions of plans that people already have and like in order to provide help to those with preexisting conditions.
"The American people have been learning about the impact Obamacare will have on individuals and families in the form of higher premiums, disrupted insurance, and lost jobs — more broken promises from the administration," McConnell said.
"And they’re becoming increasingly aware of the fact Obamacare is broken beyond repair.
"The only ‘fix’ is full repeal followed by step-by-step, patient-centered reforms that drive down costs and that Americans actually want.”
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Republican Conference, told Newsmax that "a three-week PR campaign by the president and Washington Democrats will not fix this broken law.
"Obamacare is not just a broken website; it’s an unworkable law filled with broken promises," she added. "Americans across the country are having plans canceled and health insurance premiums increased because of Obamacare."
Her Senate counterpart, John Thune of South Dakota, noted that "the harsh reality facing many this holiday season is cancelled policies, spiking premiums, skyrocketing deductibles, and loss of access to their doctors.
"But instead of offering relief to millions of Americans suffering under his healthcare law, the president is offering another taxpayer-funded marketing campaign to try to convince them that Obamacare isn’t as bad as it actually is."
And the No. 4 Republican in the Senate, John Barrasso of Wyoming, said: "Once again, the president has totally ignored the real consequences of the law that are hurting so many Americans. He took no action to help people who will lose their coverage and their doctor, pay higher premiums and become victims of identity theft because of Obamacare.
“The more the president tries to explain away the problems of his healthcare law, the worse it gets for the American people," Barrasso said. "They don’t need another press conference; they need to be able to see their doctor and get affordable care."
On the House floor, Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee described Obamacare as "an unmitigated disaster.
"As disapproval of Obamacare continues to rise, I ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to distance themselves from Obamacare and join us in trying to protect the American people from this law’s disastrous effects," Black said.
“The president may be all in on his healthcare law, but that doesn’t mean congressional Democrats need to follow him off a cliff.”
But politics aside, Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas has more practical concerns.
He told Newsmax that he has been trying to buy insurance through HealthCare.gov since Oct. 1 — and his application has remained "in process" for several weeks. His current insurance expires Dec. 31.
Burgess, a physician who is vice chairman of the health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, is getting the Bronze plan and an HMO. The policy's deductible alone is $6,800 a year.
"I've never had a deductible this high for an individual policy," Burgess said. "It’s a staggering amount of money."
More Americans are going to be faced with "coverage shock" and "rate shock" as they sign up for Obamacare, he said.
"This is going to be a pretty startling revelation for a lot of folks," Burgess told Newsmax. "I don't think the president has done a good job in preparing people for what is to come. Where we need to focus is the road ahead."
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