US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

The Role of States in Higher Education

Alexander: Obama Administration Has Been “Burying Important Obamacare Changes”

Says Americans deserve better information from the officials “so committed to implementing this train wreck of a law”

Thursday, October 10, 2013Liz Wolgemuth (202) 224-8584

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“This law is about as clear as mud, and instead of helping Americans understand their new obligations, the Obama administration has been burying important changes—not announcing them boldly, as you’d expect an administration that’s proud of its new health care law to do.” – Lamar Alexander

 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 – The senior Republican on the Senate health committee today called on the Obama administration to improve the way it provides information to Americans about Obamacare, after an administration official anonymously confirmed to the AP that Americans are required to sign-up for health insurance by mid-February to avoid the IRS penalty.  The administration has repeatedly advertised that open enrollment starts on October 1, 2013 and ends on March 31, 2014.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “This law is about as clear as mud, and instead of helping Americans understand their new obligations, the Obama administration has been burying important changes—not announcing them boldly as you’d expect an administration that’s proud of its new health care law to do. Americans deserve better from the officials who are so committed to implementing this train wreck of a law.”

Alexander detailed some of the ways Americans have learned important pieces of information about the law:

  • The one-year employer mandate delay was announced through a blog post on the Department of Treasury web site.
  • The requirement that Americans sign up for health insurance by mid-February was confirmed by an anonymous administration official to an AP reporter on October 9.
  • The revelation that problems with the federal exchange website were also due to a design failure that needed to be fixed was made to a Wall Street Journal reporter on Sunday, after the administration repeatedly told Americans that the problems were due to volume.
  • In July, The Washington Post discovered that the Obama administration had buried in the Federal Register the announcement that the government won’t be able to verify whether or not applicants for Obamacare’s insurance exchange subsidies are actually qualified for them in the 16 states that are setting up their own exchanges. Instead, until at least 2015, these states will be able to “accept the applicant’s attestation [regarding eligibility] without further verification.”
  • A post on the Department of Labor website announced that the limit on what consumers can pay out-of-pocket would be waived until 2015, potentially raising costs for co-pays and deductibles. It was posted in February, but not discovered by reporters until August.

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