Latta questions health act readiness PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 09:33
File photo. U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) doesn't think the Affordable Care Act is ready to roll out.
He doesn't think it'll ever be ready to roll out.
Still asked straight up if ending funding for the program, or putting it on hold for a year, was needed for him to vote to raise the debt ceiling, he didn't give a definitive answer.
"I haven't heard anyone say they want a shutdown," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon.
The health care exchanges which are at the center of the bill's efforts to extend health insurance coverage are due to go into effect in less than a week. "This thing is not ready," he said. "In my opinion this thing will never be ready."
Already numerous changes, Latta counts 19, have been made including 14 approved by President Barack Obama.
Notably the employer mandate has been delayed.
Still he said he's been told some companies will cap employment to under 50 to keep from being required to provide health insurance. Home Depot, he said, is considering ending health insurance coverage for part-time employees, forcing them to join the health care exchanges.
What he'd like to see is at least a one-year delay. The Republican-controlled House included language that defunds the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in its bill to continue to fund the government. If not passed by the end of the month, many government operations would stop.
But Latta said he doesn't know what will come out of the Senate, and he doesn't know what the conference committee will finally agree to.
Just a few minutes before the interview, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz had taken to the Senate floor to try to delay consideration of the House bill. Cruz, who favors the bill, knows that if it is allowed to go forward, Democrats will strip the anti-health care bill language from the measure.
Meanwhile the administration is moving ahead with implementation.
The overview of premiums and plan choices, released Wednesday by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, comes as the White House swings into full campaign mode to promote the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to a skeptical public. Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, refuse to abandon their quest to derail "Obamacare" and flirt with a government shutdown to force the issue.
Sebelius stressed the positive in a preview call with reporters. Consumers will be able to choose from an average of 53 plan options when the new markets open Oct. 1 for people who don't have health care on the job.
"For millions of Americans, these new options will finally make health insurance work within their budgets," she said.
A report by her department estimated that about 95 percent of consumers will have two or more insurers to choose from. And the administration says premiums will generally be lower than what congressional budget experts estimated when the legislation was being debated. About one-fourth of the insurers participating are new to the individual coverage market, a sign that could be good for competition.
But averages can be misleading. When it comes to the new health care law, individuals can get dramatically different results based on their particular circumstances.
Where you live, the plan you pick, family size, age, tax credits based on your income, and even tobacco use will all impact the bottom line. All those variables could make the system hard to navigate.
For all his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, Latta said, he's working to make sure if it does come to fruition that Congressional staffs will be subject to its provisions and not get special privileges. They should "have to abide by the law," Latta said.
A statement from his office today explained that members of Congress and their staffs are required to attain their health care coverage through the health care exchanges, but  the Office of Personnel Management announced a proposed rule that would award them subsidies of up to 75 percent of premium costs towards the purchase of a health insurance plan on Affordable Care Act
Latta was an original cosponsor of a bill that will amend the act to extend the requirement for participation to the president, vice president, executive branch political appointees, and employees of congressional committees and leadership offices of Congress. Additionally, it also prohibits the government from providing any sort of subsidy for those plans.
(Associated Press reports used in this story.)
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 14:34

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