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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Obamacare Still Riddled with Errors

June 11, 2014
Bilirakis Blog

As a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, I participate in hearings and briefings on a regular basis about all aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. It seems that each week, Obamacare brings more bad news, from cancelled plans and rising health care costs to limiting options for doctors and medications.

This week, we are receiving reports that more issues with the website could result in millions of Americans paying more money for health insurance. Alternative health care policies can mitigate Obamacare’s negative impacts.

The “backend” of Healthcare.gov was not built before the website went live, and is still under construction. This led to the Administration electing to approve all applications to healthcare.gov, rather than verifying the information – like name, age, income, and employment status – was correct.

This means incorrect subsidies may have been paid, and individuals across the country who purchased their insurance on Healthcare.gov may be required to pay back the IRS. The Energy and Commerce Committee, on which I serve, estimates there are over 4 million errors in Obamacare applications.

Obamacare was not ready for prime time. There are potentially millions of Americans, who, due to errors in Healthcare.gov, may not have the proper – or any – coverage. This is the reality of Obamacare; it is a government take-over of one-sixth of the economy, and the implementation since Day 1 has been a travesty.

I suspect many individuals enrolled in Obamacare towards the end of open enrollment because of the Individual Mandate – a tax you will pay if you do not buy health insurance that meets the requirements in Obamacare. This is not the way health care reform should look. Free market-based reforms hold the answer to meaningful, affordable, and long lasting health care in America.

I believe in establishing universal access programs, to guarantee access to affordable care for those with pre-existing conditions. These would expand and reform high-risk pools and reinsurance programs to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses, have access to affordable care – while lowering costs for all Americans.

I support preventing insurers from unjustly cancelling a policy or instituting lifetime spending caps, unless a person commits fraud or conceals material facts about a health condition. Encouraging small business health plans gives small businesses the power to pool together and offer health care at lower prices, just as corporations and labor unions do – another cost saving measure.

Unique and innovative policies are created and made in all areas in red and blue states across the country, and health care should be no different. Encouraging innovative state programs by providing incentive payments to states that reduce premiums and the number of uninsured will make health care in America better.

Americans should be allowed to buy insurance across state lines. We can promote healthy living, prevention, and wellness by giving employers greater flexibility to financially reward employees who adopt healthier lifestyles. Additionally, enacting medical liability reforms reduces frivolous lawsuits, which will lower the cost of healthcare.

Finally, I am a strong supporter of Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s). These create new incentives to save for future and long-term care needs by allowing qualified participants to use HSAs to pay premiums.

Together, these ideas will lower health care premiums for American families and small businesses, addressing Americans’ number-one priority for health care reform.  The Congressional Budget Office estimated these proposals in previous Congresses would lower premiums across the health care marketplace. It will reduce premiums up to 10 percent for coverage through small businesses, 8 percent in the individual market, and 3 percent in the large employer group. Compare this to Obamacare, which has reduced access to quality care and failed to address the ever-rising cost of health care for Americans in all walks of life. The time to mitigate Obamacare’s negative impacts is now.