Tags: Barack Obama | Healthcare Reform | GOP Congress | Obamacare | Gruber | architect | White House

GOP Congress Ready to Put Obamacare Under Microscope

By    |   Friday, 14 Nov 2014 04:20 PM

Bolstered by a new Senate GOP majority, a Republican Congress is ready to ramp up Obamacare hearings investigating everything it can about a law it hates but isn't able to repeal, Politico reports.

The congressional microscope will be trained on everything from scandals the latest of which revealed the trickery that got the law passed through Congress in the first place
to complaints about the law's side effects, including premium increases, its impact on the federal deficit, how payments to insurance companies attract too many sick people, and the threat of tax burdens on some customers next spring.

"I want to get facts and figures, and that's really what I want to use the committee for give the American people the truth," Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, the probable new chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told Politico. The committee is the main oversight panel in the Senate, Politico notes.

The new enrollment season for Obamacare begins Saturday.

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who will likely head the Finance Committee, told Politico the new Senate majority will give Republicans "a real opportunity to drive a smart and robust oversight agenda that will expose the flaws of the president's health law and help develop common-sense solutions to improve healthcare coverage for the American people."

And GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who's expected to head the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, suggested the hearings will help Republicans try to fix the law's problems until they can repeal it, Politico reports.

"Until we have a president in the White House who's willing to sign a repeal bill, Democrats should work with us to repair the damage Obamacare has done," he told Politico.

Expected to be a ready-for-prime-time focus of at least some hearings will be the firestorm created by videotaped, tone-deaf comments by Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist and Obamacare consultant who openly spoke about some of the callous slight-of-hand used to get the law through Congress.

Obamacare-hating lawmakers have decried the comments as proof the law wasn't passed in an honest and transparent way.

Johnson told Politico it was "way too early" to say whether he'd actually call Gruber to testify, but that his comments "highlight the deception" that has been behind Obamacare all along.

"For an administration that promised to be the most transparent administration in history, look at what's happening with Jonathan Gruber," he told Politico.

Politico reports the administration isn't worried, with the Department of Health and Human Services prepared for a hearing and its response to information requests, thanks to a seasoned investigator brought on board.

Laura Stuber, a former aide to Democratic Sen. Carl Levin on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, is heading coordination efforts for the White House's response to congressional oversight efforts on Obamacare, Politico reports.

Short of a brand-new scandal, the administration believes there isn't anything new that hasn't been investigated already, according to Politico.

Nevertheless, Republicans have been doing their homework. During the summer, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with the ranking members of all of the committees and asked them to start planning for aggressive oversight if Republicans won the majority.

And on the House side, Rob Borden, director of oversight for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, will coordinate the committees' investigative agendas on the healthcare law. House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, told Politico the House will have "an 'all-of-the-above' approach" to Obamacare oversight.

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Bolstered by a new Senate GOP majority, a Republican Congress is ready to ramp up Obamacare hearings — investigating everything it can about a law it hates but isn't able to repeal, Politico reports.
GOP Congress, Obamacare, Gruber, architect, White House, deception
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2014-20-14
Friday, 14 Nov 2014 04:20 PM
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