Monday, November 18, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Yesterday President Obama announced yet another major change to ObamaCare, allowing insurance companies to reinstate policies that ObamaCare itself forced them to cancel. This adds to a fast-growing list of ObamaCare “fixes” that were unilaterally decreed by the Obama administration, including the delay of the employer mandate and a slew of short-term exemptions to various ObamaCare rules that were awarded to select companies and unions.
Consider the current situation: millions of people who were told they could keep their healthcare plans have had those plans cancelled; millions more are unable to sign up for new plans on the malfunctioning website of the ObamaCare exchanges even though they will soon be fined if they don’t somehow get a plan; those who do manage to access the exchanges are realizing they must get coverage for unnecessary services such as maternity care for men; and businesses have downgraded workers from full-time to part-time status in order to avoid ObamaCare mandates.
My friends, this is no way to run a government. The president cannot purport to remake one-sixth of the U.S. economy, throw people off their healthcare plans, drown businesses in a sea of impossible regulations, and then assume the authority to enforce, not enforce, or change the law at will. This does grievous harm to individual Americans, to the healthcare system, and to our tradition of governance based on the rule of law. We live in a constitutional republic, not an autocracy where the law is whatever the monarch says it is.
The Obama administration’s mania for controlling the healthcare sector has created a crisis so profound that even convinced ObamaCare supporters in the president’s own party are speaking out. But the damage cannot be repaired by more administrative fixes. Democrats can still protect ObamaCare in Congress, but their willingness to do so is weakening with every new ObamaCare disaster. We must continue to chip away at this overreaching, ill-conceived law until it is repealed entirely and replaced with free-market reforms that work. For reform ideas that some colleagues and I have proposed, see here.
Separately, I appeared on Fox News’ Special Report yesterday to discuss the investigation into the attack on Benghazi. You can watch the video here.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
I’ll be speaking with KMJ’s Chris Daniel today at 3:00 pm PST about a letter I sent to Speaker Boehner regarding the investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. You can listen to the Chris Daniel show here, and you can read the letter here. For more information, see:
· CNN article and video here.
· Fox News Special Report video here, and a Special Report panel discussion (beginning at the 22:40 mark) here.
· Daily Beast article by Eli Lake here.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), testified to the Ways and Means Committee this week on the Obama administration’s disastrous rollout of the ObamaCare exchanges and their malfunctioning website. Here are some examples of how her answers to my questions contradicted her previous statements:
· Ms. Tavenner’s conversation with Rep. Pitts during her August 1, 2013 testimony to Congress (Note that Rep. Pitts asked her about the ObamaCare exchanges, not the data hub):
Rep. Pitts: “Do the contractors who HHS is paying to build these exchanges have certain targets or milestones that they have to meet?”
Ms. Tavenner: “Absolutely.”
Rep. Pitts: “Can you tell us today that every contractor has met these targets and is on time?”
Ms. Tavenner: “Yes sir, I can.”
Ms. Tavenner’s answer to my question about that conversation: “If I remember the questions correctly, what Congressman Pitts was asking me related to the hub, and the hub was progressing on time and on schedule, [it] still is. The hub has actually operated pretty much flawlessly, and most of the questions were around the hub.”
· Ms. Tavenner’s written testimony submitted for her October 29, 2013 appearance before the Ways and Means Committee: “CMS has a track record of successfully overseeing the many contractors our programs depend on to function. Unfortunately, a subset of those contracts for HeathCare.gov have not met expectations.”
Ms. Tavenner’s answer to my question about that testimony: “I don’t think I said that [the problem with HealthCare.gov] was due to a subset of contractors.”
To sum up: Ms. Tavenner told Congress on August 1, 2013 – just two months before the exchanges became operational – that all the contractors creating the exchanges were meeting their targets and were on time. Then for her October 29 appearance before Congress, she submitted written testimony blaming the critical problems with the exchanges and the website on a subset of contractors. When I asked her about that, she denied having said it. Additionally, when asked by me and several other congressmen how many people have managed to get through all the HealthCare.gov glitches and actually enroll in the exchanges, Ms. Tavenner refused to answer, saying CMS would not release those numbers until mid-November.
Just for fun, let’s end with one more quote, this one from President Obama himself:
“This is the most transparent administration in history.”