For three and a half years, the president promised Americans that the uninsured would have access to affordable health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare and that those who wanted to keep their current coverage could do so.
As many of you know, those promises now appear to be empty as Americans struggle to enroll in any plan, let alone an affordable one, on the Exchange, as currently available plans are canceled, and as premiums skyrocket. We are just a couple of weeks into the rollout of Obamacare and so far it has been a colossal failure.
While I could cite hundreds of examples from Missourians already feeling the pain of Obamacare, I recently received a note from a Marthasville woman whose letter personifies the impact this law will have on hard-working people. Currently, the woman and her husband opt for a low-cost plan outside of their employers' that is only a few hundred dollars to cover both girls. She recently received a letter informing her that because of Obamacare requirements, the plan will now cost her family $800 a month per child. While their story is not unique, it clearly illustrates how devastating this plan is to American households trying to makes ends meet.
Numerous other Americans are also experiencing firsthand the pains of Obamacare, whether it is their employer dropping their current coverage because they cannot afford to accommodate the law's requirements, the elimination of affordable plans on the individual market, premium increases, or restricted networks of providers and hospitals.
Consider this: the Administration spent a total of $500 million on the Obamacare website and its back end systems. To put this into perspective, Facebook operated for six years before surpassing the $500 million mark. To make matters worse, we now know that those working on the system knew it wasn't ready and that it was going to likely have significant problems, that I would qualify as failures, yet the president and his allies forged ahead anyway. Among those allies was Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and I recently joined a number of my colleagues in calling on the president to seek Sebelius' resignation.
People who want health insurance through the Exchange and those that now have no other option but to purchase coverage on the Exchange because of the individual mandate and the contraction of plans through employers have been experiencing problems with accessing the website, setting up an account, confirming their identity, and receiving accurate subsidy information from day one. The few who were able to submit personally identifiable information into the system and enroll in a plan, so they thought, soon discovered this vital data disappeared into a cyber no man's land. Insurance companies participating in the Exchange have reported errors in the data they receive from the healthcare.gov system and are unable to accurately communicate technically with the system's IT infrastructure.
Most people I talk with remember all too clearly that Obamacare was forced on them. Without a single Republican vote and under the faulty notion that Americans should embrace Obamacare first and later find out what the law really entailed, the president and the Democrats on Christmas Eve, 2010, allowed this 2,000-page monstrosity to become law. I voted against Obamacare then, and since that time have voted dozens of times on behalf of people like you to defund and dismantle it. The Democrat Senate and the president have scoffed at those efforts and have continued to effectively thumb their noses at the American people.
The American people were sold an idea of "patient-protecting and affordable" health-care reform, but all we got was an additional $1 trillion bag of government debt, a glitch-filled website, higher premiums, and more uncertainty. The president and his liberal allies must put their foolish pride aside and admit they were wrong. Perhaps it is time the president and his allies take heed of Primum non nocere, the Latin phrase from the physicians' Hippocratic Oath that means "first, do no harm.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., represents the state's 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 573-635-7232.