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COMMUNITY VOICE

Individuals need same relief from Obamacare that business is getting

Friday, November 1, 2013 - 12:01 am

An email I received from Daniel in Elkhart summarizes the experience many Hoosiers are having with the recently launched Obamacare online health insurance marketplace:

“I have tried for two weeks to apply through the marketplace, only to electronically sign my application and be kicked back to my ‘profile page.’ This is the most bizarre system I have ever experienced. If a company put a business website together like this, they would go out of business.”

Despite its $400 million cost to taxpayers, the president’s health care website has been plagued by nationwide accounts of technological complications since it launched Oct. 1. It also has been reported that the site has provided inaccurate information about the federal tax credits available to those seeking health insurance.

An experienced online database programmer told CBS News, “I would be ashamed and embarrassed if my organization delivered something like that.”

The administration has had almost four years to prepare for the rollout of its health care law, and this is what it looks like – a complete disaster. A recent Associated Press poll revealed that only 7 percent of Americans believe the rollout of Obamacare has gone either very well or extremely well.

Despite the website’s numerous glitches and many other implementation problems, the administration still insists on fining taxpayers if they don’t purchase health insurance.

Last week, the administration announced a six-week extension to sign up for a health care plan before facing a penalty. This brief extension is not enough and certainly no consolation for the millions of Americans who are seeing their policies canceled, premiums rise and paychecks fall.

In September, I introduced legislation to delay the Obamacare mandates for a year, and as the problems with the health care law rise, I will continue to push for a vote on this bill.

First, a delay of the Obamacare mandates would provide all Americans with the same relief that the administration already has given to businesses. The administration announced this summer that it will delay penalties for employers who do not provide health insurance coverage to workers, but not provide the same delay for all Americans.

Don’t individuals deserve the same relief from Obamacare as businesses?

My bill would codify the delay of the employer-mandate and extend the same delay to all individuals and families.

Second, delaying the Obamacare mandates until after the 2014 midterm elections would allow American voters to decide the health care law’s fate now that the impact of the law is being felt. Although the House has passed numerous bills to dismantle Obamacare, we do not have the votes in the Senate today to repeal or defund Obamacare.

If we delay the mandates, Americans will be able to decide whether they want to keep Obamacare or replace it with step-by-step, consumer-driven health care reforms.

The House already has taken the first step and passed similar legislation, introduced by Rep. Todd Young to delay the employer and individual mandates. And it was bipartisan. Twenty-two House Democrats recognized the need to give Americans the same relief from Obamacare that businesses are receiving. Over the last several days, a number of Senate Democrats have expressed support for delaying parts or all of the president’s health care law as well.

As the president said last week, Obamacare is more than a website. It’s a law that has real-life consequences to Hoosier families and individuals.

President Obama – before and after Obamacare passed – promised all Americans they could keep their health care plans if they liked them. It was a promise he repeated time and time again.

But that isn’t the case, and Obama has known it for some time. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are receiving notification that their plans are being cancelled because of Obamacare, and reports indicate that the White House has known for three years that these cancellations were coming.

President Obama should keep his word to the American people. The president owes them an apology but most of all a solution.

Republican Dan Coats is a U.S. senator from Indiana.