Sen. Pat Roberts: Obama Administration Still Can't Answer Obamacare Questions

Saturday, 29 Jun 2013 12:42 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Obama Administration still can't answer the questions still surrounding its health care plan, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts said in Saturday's GOP address, even though it's only three months until the Oct. 1 deadline requiring Americans have health insurance.

"Health care as you know it will change," said the Kansas Republican. "Do you know how much your new plan will cost? Do you know what it will cover? Will you be able to see your family doctor? Right now, you can’t answer these questions and neither can the Obama Administration."

Roberts has proposed a Senate bill that, if passed, will ensure health exchanges and a mandated tax will cease if the administration is not ready by Oct. 1.

" We need to make the right kind of change to the health care system… change that doesn’t include higher taxes, higher premiums and decision-making by government bureaucrats rather than our own doctors," Roberts said.

The Senator noted that the Government Accounting Office has found problems with the insurance exchanges and can't ensure they will be ready by Oct. 1.

"As one of the Democrat authors of the bill said, American families are facing ‘a train wreck,’" Roberts said. "Even President Obama says there may be some 'bumps' and 'glitches.'"

The problems mean people may lose their coverage, like in California, where Aetna said it will no longer offer individual market plans, affecting some 50,000 people.

"Those 50,000 people are expected to turn to the exchange," said Roberts. "How many more insurers will follow suit?"

Roberts also noted that young, healthy people are not embracing the idea of health insurance exchanges, which will only be cost-efficient if healthy people are paying into them as well as the ill.

Related: Scalise Urges NFL, NBA Not to Promote Obamacare 'Train Wreck'

“Young healthy people find the exchanges so costly and objectionable that the administration is drafting the NBA and the NFL to pitch Obamacare," said Roberts.
Meanwhile, premiums for Americans will rise, he said.

Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters on June 24 that her department had reached out to the NFL and other professional sports leagues to discuss a partnership to help market Obamacare. The administration especially wants to reach healthy young men, part of the NFL’s fan base, whose enrollment in new insurance plans to be offered starting Oct. 1 is seen as crucial to the law’s success.

Sebelius said the NFL was “actively and enthusiastically engaged” with the administration about advertising and other promotional efforts.

But Greg Aiello, a spokesman for the NFL, contradicted Sebelius, saying the league informed the senators that “we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration” about the law’s implementation.

Related: NFL Contradicts Sebelius on Plan to Promote Obamacare

Roberts said Congress had a real way to improve health care, before Obamacare "was forced through Congress in a misguided partisan federal takeover of health care. We should have expanded access to care for those in need while protecting the all-important relationship between you and your doctor."

In addition, Obamacare means a new tax on American citizens, and will be governed by the "same IRS that intimidated Americans for their beliefs with unlawful scrutiny and audits and fines...the American people do not trust the IRS -- not with their taxes and not with their health care."

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