Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsBob Dole, Pat Roberts endorse Kansas AG Derek Schmidt for governor Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Kansas) warned of a coming "train wreck" when enrollment begins in ObamaCare insurance exchanges this fall in the Republican weekly address.
Roberts, an outspoken opponent of President Obama’s healthcare reforms, said that important questions remain before the exchanges, part of what he called a "massive federal government takeover," go into effect in October.
“Too little is known about the exchanges. The fear is that only the sick will pay to join the exchange without young healthy people to foot the bill, then all costs will further skyrocket," Roberts said.
Republicans and Democrats alike have complained that the White House hasn't done enough to inform the public about the law's advantages prior to its upcoming rollout.
Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBiden nominates Nicholas Burns as ambassador to China Cryptocurrency industry lobbies Washington for 'regulatory clarity' Bottom line MORE (D-Mont.), one of the architects of the law, said earlier this year he's worried that the implementation will turn into a "huge train wreck" — comments Republicans seized on as evidence even the president's own party is wary of the law's eventual effects.
A recent report from the nonpartisan Government Accounting Office also showed states still have significant work to do in setting up those exchanges. The report raised questions about the ability of the plan to "assure the timely and smooth implementation."
To alleviate those concerns, President Obama has begun pitching the law to the public, recently appearing in California to tout that state's exchange, which Democrats see as a possible example for the rest of the nation.
There, premiums for the law's cheapest policies came in at less than $200 per month.
Obama, though, did urge patience during his California appearance, warning there could be "bumps" and "glitches" as the law takes off.
Roberts suggested the bill will have far worse effects.
“We must put an end to the fear and uncertainty. Those ‘bumps’ and ‘glitches,’ the president talks about? It’s a train wreck, folks, and we have to get America out of the way," he said.
He also noted, echoing a line of attack from Republicans following the revelation that the Internal Revenue Service inappropriately targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny, that the agency plays a crucial role in ObamaCare implementation.
"The American people do not trust the IRS – not with their taxes and not with their health care," he said.
The IRS is responsible for the law’s individual mandate and assessing tax subsidies that millions will receive to help them buy insurance.
Roberts is the author of a bill that would repeal the exchanges if the deadline is missed, which he touted to close the address.
"We need to make the right kind of change to the health care system…change that doesn’t include higher taxes, higher premiums and decision-making by government bureaucrats rather than our own doctors," he said.
The rollout of the healthcare reform law has some Democrats worried that those "glitches" and "bumps" Obama mentioned in his recent speech could create public backlash right as 2014 races heat up.
ObamaCare's passage in 2010, without one Republican vote in the House, was part of the catalyst for a wave that cycle, which saw historic GOP gains in the House.