WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) admonished the Obama administration for its desperate move to effectively reverse a major tenant of its health insurance reform law–minimum standards for all health insurance policies.
The White House announced that an estimated five million Americans who have lost their health insurance because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) would be exempt from purchasing policies on government-sponsored health insurance exchanges and be allowed to buy private-sector catastrophic coverage without being penalized. Catastrophic plans typically do not offer all of the essential health benefits recently required for coverage by the administration.
The administration announced the exemption just hours before Cochran introduced the Health Insurance Accountability Act to fully repeal Obamacare if, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the number of uninsured at any point after Jan. 1, 2014, is greater than the number of uninsured at the time the law was enacted in March 2010.
“The President is again trying to salvage his signature achievement by twisting the law to mask its flaws. Millions have lost their health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act and now the administration is second-guessing its own support of minimum health standards, a cornerstone of the law,” Cochran said.
The Health Insurance Accountability Act introduced by Cochran would require the GAO to conduct a study in consultation with the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the number of individuals in the United States who are uninsured now as opposed to the number of uninsured when PPACA was enacted. If more Americans are left uninsured, Obamacare would be repealed.
”The point of this legislation is to hold the President and his administration accountable for this law and its disastrous implementation. There is no reason individuals, families and businesses should continue to be subjected to such a gigantic, intrusive and expensive experiment if the law is not even accomplishing its primary goals. If it’s not working and can’t be fixed, get rid of it,” said Cochran, who has since 2009 repeatedly voted against Obamacare.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week reported that about 800,000 individuals have received Medicaid eligibility determinations from the enrollment website and that just 365,000 individuals had selected insurance plans from the state and federal health insurance exchanges that were launched on Oct. 1. The enrollment rate represents less than one percent of those who were uninsured at the time of the law’s enactment.
Original cosponsors to this legislation include Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).