Sen. Coburn Says US Has Pre-existing Condition: Obamacare

Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 08:20 PM

By Greg Richter

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As President Barack Obama touted 7.1 million signups for the Affordable Care Act in the Rose Garden on Tuesday, Republicans were predictably less enthusiastic.

"We have a pre-existing condition in this country right now. It's called the Unaffordable Care Act," Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."

Coburn acknowledged that Democrats had good motives when they passed Obamacare in 2010, but he said they forgot that markets allocate scarce resources better than any government program.

"If you want to make something expensive, have the government run it," Coburn said.

Despite Democrats' good intentions of getting coverage for 30 million uninsured Americans, he said, healthcare for millions of people is now more expensive and they have less access to quality care.

A number Obama isn't mentioning, Coburn said, is the 2 million people who have made a choice not to buy insurance under Obamacare. Instead, they have said they're better off paying a fine for not having coverage and putting their money in the bank to pay for their healthcare.

Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana told Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" that the 7.1 million figure was "just a publicity rollout for the president."

The GOP must put an alternative in place to give people a choice, Coats said.

Leading management consulting firm McKinsey reported that in February only 14 percent of signups were from people who did not previously have health insurance.

Coats thinks the White House still does not have positive numbers in that regard. It either has negative numbers or doesn't know what they are, he said.

"I think they would be bragging about them if they had good numbers," Coats said.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Cavuto he thinks a "vast majority" of people have had their previous insurance canceled or have been forced to pay higher premiums or deductibles.

That, he said, is "totally inconsistent in the law."

The ACA "was passed to cover uninsured people, not to change my insurance," Giuliani said.

Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry described the announcement on the South Lawn as "a pep rally," attended only by supporters.

Henry also noted that Obama mentioned Sen. Dick Durban and Rep. Nancy Pelosi for their great help in getting the law passed and implemented. Both were seated in the front row for the announcement, but so was Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who was not mentioned.

That has led to increased speculation that Sebelius' job may be in jeopardy over the initial botched rollout of the HealthCare.gov website. White House spokesman Jay Carney said earlier in the day that Sebelius still had the president's confidence.

"I think you're obsessing on something that I promise you needs not obsession," Carney said.

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