Obamacare announcement a 'slap in the face' to many, according to some GOP lawmakers

Obamacare announcement a 'slap in the face' to many, according to some GOP lawmakers

POSTED: Friday, December 20, 2013 - 9:03am

UPDATED: Friday, December 20, 2013 - 6:42pm

White House announces option to buy catastrophic coverage

The White House said Thursday that far fewer people than critics projected lost their insurance plans and failed to get new coverage since the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The Obama administration also said it would allow those Americans who had their individual insurance policies canceled due to Obamacare to buy catastrophic coverage, as an option, so they do not fall through the cracks at the start of the year.

"This is a common-sense clarification of the law. For the limited number of consumers whose plans have been canceled and are seeking coverage, this is one more option," Health and Human Services spokesperson Joanne Peters told CNN.

HHS said it believes most people affected would have better options but would be given an alternative through a hardship exemption if they believe their choices in the marketplace are more expensive than their canceled plan.

After the administration announced the catastrophic coverage option, reactions poured in from the right and left.

"We are pleased that the administration appears to have responded to the concerns we've raised," a group of five Senate Democrats and one independent said in in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Sens. Mark Warner, Jeanne Shaheen, Mary Landrieu, Heidi Heitkamp and Tim Kaine along with independent Angus King sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, advocating the change. All are more moderate members of the left from right-leaning states, and many face tough re-elections next November.

"As a result, this clarifies an option that will help those consumers who have had their plans canceled transition more smoothly into the marketplace. We will closely monitor how the administration implements this option, and we remain committed to proposing responsible solutions," the statement said.

Senate Republicans took a harder line.

"Holding a fire sale of cheap insurance is not a responsible fix for a broken program. This is a slap in the face to the thousands of Americans who have already purchased expensive insurance through the Obamacare exchanges. Obamacare as originally conceived is a flawed policy and must be repealed," said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, in a statement.

And the insurance industry responded with a grim warning.

"This latest rule change could cause significant instability in the marketplace and lead to further confusion and disruption for consumers," said America's Health Insurance Plans' president and CEO Karen Ignagni. AHIP is a national group that lobbies for the health insurance companies.

There are fewer than 500,000 people whose health insurance plans were canceled and haven't yet signed up for new ones, administration officials said.

That's far lower than some forecasts by opponents of the health law indicating that millions of policyholders would lose their coverage because their plans did not meet new standards required under the health law.

President Barack Obama had repeatedly promised that people could keep their plans if they liked them under the reforms he championed.

But insurance companies began cutting off many who purchased policies individually. Most Americans who have insurance are covered under employer plans.

Administration officials said on Thursday they expect an enrollment surge ahead of Monday's sign-up deadline to ensure coverage on January 1.

And while officials say enrollment appears "robust and strong" in December, they anticipate a drop-off in January, when a looming deadline isn't spurring people to sign up.

The next spike, they say, will come in March, which is the last month Americans can enroll in insurance before being assessed a penalty.

Enrollment has been increasing since a disappointing start due to the disastrous rollout of the federal website, HealthCare.gov, where consumers can shop and purchase plans.

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Comments News Comments

Dream on pete and idiot.

Everyone sees through Obama's whole shtick now. He is lower than Nixon and in 2014 it will be even lower.

It was all a fraud. One massive fraud.

Another bait and switch. Ripoff after ripoff after ripoff.

And the Administration won't even give the true numbers of either cancellations or those jobless.

Won't give honest answers to Fast&Furious, Benghazi, NSA spying, IRS voter interference, FBI scandal, etc... not one honest answer.

No wonder Obama's popularity is below even Nixon.

It's sleaze all the way.

Hope for change in 2014. Democrats need to be jobless like other folks.

gop/t-swillers are irrelevant, out of step with positive progress, elitists, divisive and, unfortunately for you and them, are setting up the scenario that, should they continue to be obstructionists and loud-mouth anti-Americans, will sink the gop/t-swiller boat. The ACA WILL work...ALL Americans will have peace of mind that they can take care of their family's healthcare (sorry, rich and narrow-minded repub/t-swillers...gosh, your elitist status is now tarnished, isn't it!).

The headline is incorrect, misleading and poor journalism at KETK.
GOP Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio (R-FL) made the statement. It was NOT supported by either Texas Senators who have distanced themselves from Rubio's remarks. Senators Cornyn & Cruz have not made public statements about this latest change offered by the Obama administration.
Sen Rubio's ill-chosen words reflect his right wing-nut position not generally held by mainstream Republicans. He owes his party and Americans an apology.

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