Rep. Diane Black, a former nurse who has been a staunch critic of Obamacare, tells Newsmax TV that President Barack Obama shouldn’t be able to “pick and choose” which pieces of his signature healthcare plan he will roll out to the American people.
“Once something is put in law, the president doesn't have the opportunity to be able to say, well, ‘I'll pick this part, I like this, and I won't pick that and I don't like that,” said Black in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
“Why is it that he is giving an opportunity for employers not to have to abide by the law when individuals (who) don't have a lobbying voice are going to be paddled with this really just a very expensive piece of legislation that is not going to give them greater access or more affordability?”
Black, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, said she is ready to hold the president’s feet to the fire after hearing testimony earlier on Wednesday on the Obama administration’s planned one-year delay of the so-called employer mandate, which requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide healthcare insurance.
“I don't know what his true motivation is,” the Tennessee Republican explained. “All I can tell you is that in the past, he has indicated that he wanted a single-payer system and some of these things are to push us toward that where he can say, ‘see, this did work, people got on this in droves and we're not verifying it.’ Once they're on it, it's awfully hard to take it away.”
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She said that the Obama administration also announced in recent days that some people may be placed into the system without a formal verification process, which is another source of concern.
“If you don't verify that people are really eligible for the program then you have droves of people running to sign up for this when there's no verification system, which was the other piece on Friday when no one was listening that the administration put out in a very large document that they can have people get on the system without being verified — and why not do it while there's not a verification process? And he can say, ‘see we've been very successful.’”
She noted that the House has already voted several times to repeal Obamacare, something that cannot occur without agreement by the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Black said that one of the witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing testified that 95 percent of American employers already offer insurance to their workers.
“If that is the case and only 5 percent don't have access to insurance, we could have fixed that without putting this big bureaucratic boondoggle in place,” Black asserted.
Black believes that the Obama administration simply isn’t ready to move forward with the cumbersome program.
“I've been saying all along, they are not ready, their data hub is not ready, they don't have the right technology in place right now,” she explained. “GAO has said that as well, and now we've come upon the time where it's getting close to implemented and we're seeing they're not ready.”
Even so, Black said, it is unlikely Obama will ever acknowledge that Obamacare is unworkable.
“I'm not sure that this president is ever going to admit that this big program was impossible from the very beginning and it doesn't accomplish those missions and goals that they set out,” she said. “It was supposed to be more accessible.”
She said that Obamacare is supposed to reduce the cost of healthcare.
“The president said it would save each individual family $1,200,” according to Black. “Now we're finding out the cost is going up. So we don't have accessibility. The quality will go down as you have these exchanges where you only have a single provider that doesn't have a good network.
“So all of those things that the president said were going to positive points — their missions and goals — we can see very clearly that these are not going to be accomplished.”
With respect to the looming battle over immigration reform in the House, Black said Republicans are looking for assurances that America’s borders will be a priority.
“The general consensus within our membership — and I don’t want to speak for every single individual — is that the first thing we have to do is secure the borders,” she said. “There's not going to be a lot of conversation with moving forward with anything else. And that certainly is my point of view . . . I am not going to be willing to do anything further with immigration until we stop the bleeding.”
She said the immigration bill that passed the Senate is a nonstarter in the lower chamber.
“I don’t think that the Senate bill has any chance at all of passing here in the House. I would be really almost shocked to think that we would pass the bill that they passed,” she added. “You can't even begin to have that conversation until you make sure that it stops the illegal immigrants from coming in.”
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