Special to the Journal
WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to address the ongoing problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Kingston, a lead Congressional advocate for repealing the act altogether, expressed his dismay that hundreds of thousands of Americans are losing their existing insurance coverage. President Obama sold his plan based heavily on his promise that those who wanted to keep their current plans could do so.
Kingston also criticized the Administration for the endless problems many Americans have encountered in their attempts to enroll in the federal exchanges the law requires. He questioned the penalties that citizens will incur if they decline to enroll, the removal of the window shopping function, the cost of web design and maintenance, and raised serious concerns regarding the security of personal information.
“Obamacare is more than just a botched website,” said Kingston. “This broken law has failed in its two primary purposes. It has not made health care more affordable or improved accessibility. It’s actually doing the opposite.”
According to the Cato Institute, many insurance providers have been forced to downsize their network and cancel individual plans. For example, Florida Blue is canceling about 80 percent of its individual policies. Some states cite as much as a 256 percent increase in premiums. In five states, over 1.4 million people have already received cancellation notices.
Kingston also demanded answers on the cost of implementing the exchanges to date, lack of executive oversight, and inflexibility to delay implementation given their advance notice of major problems. Reports have surfaced that the Administration has known about this for three years according to forms from the Internal Revenue Service in 2010 citing regulations pushed by Health and Human Services.
“Currently, there are far more individuals losing their current plans than enrolling in the exchanges,” said Kingston. “This is not the kind of health care reform that Americans deserve.”
Kingston voted to fully defund Obamacare and to delay implementation during recent budget negotiations with the Senate. He also voted against appropriations legislation which failed to address these concerns.
Also this week, Kingston co-sponsored a bill with Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) to overturn this portion of the law and force the President to keep his promise. The Keep Your Health Plan Act was introduced this week and authorizes health insurance companies to continue offering current plans in satisfaction of the minimum essential health insurance coverage requirement in the Affordable Care Act. Upton is the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the host of the hearing at which Sebelius testified on Wednesday, October 30.