Diagnosis: Broken healthcare promise

The debacles are adding up. Whether it’s the botched website rollout, the skyrocketing cost of insurance premiums or the cancellation notices millions of insured Americans have received, my colleagues and I are hearing from people who feel betrayed by President Obama’s broken promises on healthcare.
As we cautioned, the problems surrounding ObamaCare are about much more than a broken website: This is a broken law that is breaking the healthcare system in our country.

The president repeatedly promised, “If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan, period.” However, we now know that is not true.

Take, for example, Emilie Lamb from my district in Tennessee, who suffers from the chronic illness lupus. Due to her illness, the only way Emilie was able to receive coverage was through an employer-based program. Since 2006, Emilie received health insurance through CoverTN, which provided her with the affordable care she required for the numerous emergency room visits and surgeries she has had to endure to treat her illness.

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Emilie was excited about the prospect of being able to keep her plan under the Affordable Care Act because “uninsurables” would no longer be denied coverage. Unfortunately, everything Emilie was promised by this administration turned out to be untrue, and her policy was canceled.

It’s a travesty that millions of Americans like Emilie who have had their coverage canceled still far exceed the numbers who have signed up.
And the latest “enrollment” numbers released by the White House this week fail to answer one of the most important questions we have: Who’s getting paid?

Across the country, patients are showing up for doctor’s appointments only to find out they are not actually covered. Healthcare providers are not receiving the information they need from HealthCare.gov to successfully enroll citizens in the plans they have chosen. This is just the beginning — and it’s a mess.
Through our oversight efforts at the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we have also learned that complete end-to-end security testing was not completed prior to the Oct. 1 launch — because you cannot test something that is not fully built.

This means the law puts Americans at risk for fraud because they are forced to participate in exchanges that have proven to be wrought with technology issues.

The Obama administration has done nothing to instill confidence in the American people that their personal information is safe and secure on the healthcare exchange website. Furthermore, administration officials have repeatedly failed to address concerns we have raised during our investigation regarding the security risks surrounding the ObamaCare website.

Last week, the House took an important action by voting 291-122 to approve legislation authored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act. This bill would require the administration to promptly inform individuals in the event of ObamaCare data breaches.

House Republicans also are continuing to work on common-sense solutions to repeal ObamaCare and move the market back to free-market platforms like the American Health Care Reform Act, which was introduced last fall in an effort to address the rising healthcare costs as a result of the implementation of Obama’s disastrous healthcare law.

ObamaCare was to solve the problem of the high cost of health insurance. It has made the situation worse. The American Health Care Reform Act lowers healthcare prices by allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines and permitting businesses to pool together in association health plans in order to drive competition. The plan replaces a Washington mandate with interstate competition, allowing market forces to encourage efficiency and pass cost savings on to the American people.

The high cost of health insurance is the biggest impediment to gaining coverage. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the uninsured are the working poor, and they continually cite the high cost of insurance as the primary barrier to accessing healthcare coverage. Under our plan, access will expand when the cost of health insurance comes down and allows more hard-working Americans to afford coverage.

Americans are now realizing what our investigation at the Energy and Commerce Committee has revealed for months — that the administration has known ObamaCare was not “on track” but that they moved forward regardless. Despite this administration’s refusal to admit this law was not ready for prime time, the president’s healthcare law has created more uncertainty among families and businesses, to date leaving more people with cancellation notices than enrolled in exchange plans.

It seems Obama’s signature healthcare law is just one big empty promise.



Blackburn has represented Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District since 2003. She sits on the Budget, and Energy and Commerce committees.