The Buzz

Roberts: Let’s eliminate health care exchanges

Updated: 2013-08-02T21:56:02Z

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts went to the floor of the Senate on Friday to urge support for his bill to eliminate health care exchanges if they’re not ready to go on Oct. 1.

The exchanges are basically shopping sites where consumers would go to buy health insurance.

“In Georgia and Ohio, we know that these state exchanges will be offering plans that will double the premiums people pay today, if states can get them operational at all,” Roberts said. “This was not the intent of health care reform or the exchanges. We ought to repeal the entire law, but until then, my bill acts immediately.”

Roberts pointed out that the health care exchanges must be up, running and ready to enroll by October to ensure that coverage will begin by the statutory deadline of Jan. 1.

Last month the Obama Administration announced a delay in enforcement of the mandate or tax on small and large businesses until after the 2014 election.

“This just means another delay for businesses that complained about the red tape and costly burdens the mandate placed on their operations. Many are already laying off employees or moving them to part-time status to avoid the costly mandate,” Roberts said.

“And, all of this follows the thousands of waivers granted to corporations, unions and other groups. My question is again, where is the waiver for the average family in Kansas and around the nation? Where is the permanent delay for the taxes that will affect individuals?

“Now, I realize as we travel down this road to the October 1 deadline at ever increasing speed, there will be those who support continued advertising and encouraging thousands to sign up in exchanges. The question is, sign up for what? The chances for the exchanges, state and federal, to be ready are remote at best. Obviously, there will be a delay and once again, we will have the Obama Administration re-writing laws they had a hand in writing behind closed doors and were passed exclusively by the Democratic majority.”

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