Senator Dan Coats
In Indiana and across the country, millions of Americans have discovered health care cancellation notices in their mailboxes. The president’s repeated claim to the public that you can keep your plan if you like it has proven to be yet another broken promise.
Last week, President Obama announced a so-called “fix” that would allow insurance companies to extend existing health plans in 2014 only for individuals already enrolled. In other words, this only delays some insurance expiration notices for up to one year.
The president’s announcement came on the heels of the shocking news that only 701 Hoosiers selected health insurance plans using Healthcare.gov from October 1 through November 2. Nationwide, only 106,000 Americans were able to register for Obamacare in the first month of enrollment, falling significantly short of the administration’s expectation of 500,000 enrollees. Less than 27,000 people were able to select a plan through the federal exchange in the 36 states that do not have a state-based exchange and another 79,000 individuals were able to select plans through state-based exchanges.
To put all of these numbers in perspective, consider that more than 4.2 million Americans have had their health care insurance plans cancelled because of Obamacare, including approximately 108,000 Hoosiers.
Even more alarming, reports indicate that the administration has known these cancellations were coming for at least three years. If the administration knew all along that millions of Americans would lose their current health care plans, why would the president promise over and over again that if you like your plan, you can keep your plan?
Both President Obama’s announcement and the low enrollment numbers are further evidence that this law is not working for Hoosiers and Americans nationwide. Instead of helping hard-working families, far more people have lost the health care plans they liked than have enrolled in new plans under Obamacare.
As I speak with Hoosier families, doctors and health care providers, the growing sentiment is that the Affordable Care Act is beyond repair. Already, more than a dozen times, the president has changed, delayed or withdrawn parts of his own health care law.
This disastrous law needs to be repealed and replaced with real reforms that drive down the cost of health care, increase the quality of care and put patients, not Washington bureaucrats, in charge of their own health care decisions.
As long as Obamacare remains in place, Hoosiers will face the threat of losing their current health coverage, losing access to their doctors and paying higher premiums and tax penalties. A real fix would be to start over on bipartisan reforms that focus on delivering affordable, quality health care.
Unfortunately, this president and the Senate Democrats have made it clear they will never allow a repeal bill to pass despite all the broken promises to the American people and despite the fact that this law isn’t working.
Given this reality, the appropriate step is for a one-year delay of the implementation. I have a bill to delay the Obamacare mandates and provide all Americans with the same relief that the administration already has given to businesses.
By delaying the mandates in the health care law, we can give the American people a fundamental choice when they go to the polls in November 2014: continue Obamacare or replace it with sensible, affordable health care solutions.
Sen. Dan Coats is a Republican from Indiana.