Ellmers declares ObamaCare a “War on Women”

Eastern North Carolina Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-2nd District) used her appearance presenting the Weekly GOP Address this Saturday to up the ante of criticism of President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act.

Congresswoman Ellmers, whose opposition to “ObamaCare” facilitated her victory in 2010 over previous incumbent Bob Etheridge, spoke directly on the impact of the legislation on existing health insurance for North Carolina residents, including women.

Like many of you, I’m frustrated with the president’s health care law, especially where jobs and working families are concerned.   I say this not only as a congresswoman and chair of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee; I say it as a nurse and the mother of a son in college.

After all, it’s often women who make the healthcare decisions for our families.  We put a lot of time and thought into these choices and how they’ll affect our budgets

So by canceling your insurance – despite a promise to let you keep your plan – the Obama administration is essentially saying it knows what’s best for you and your family.   Not only that, they are making you pay more – usually much more – and in many cases, taking away the doctor you’ve been seeing for years.

If you want to talk about a ‘war on women,’ look no further than this health care law.

Congresswoman Ellmers presented specific cases from constituents to prove her point.

Marian from Pittsboro told me that she and her husband received cancellation notices and that the replacement would double their premiums.  When she called to ask for help, the insurance company told Marian that if she doesn’t sign up for a new plan, the law requires that they enroll her in the “suggested policy.”   This increase, she says, will consume their gas and grocery money for the month.  She now sees no choice but to cancel their insurance altogether.

Kent and Ulli from Cary are in their mid-50s and they report that their premiums are about to jump from $248 to $968 per month.  That is nearly four times higher.  Ken and Ulli have always preferred a high deductible policy because, they work hard to stay in good health and when they do need care, they like to shop for the best value. But as we have seen, this administration thinks it knows better than they do.

And then there’s Liz from Sanford.  She’s a small business owner with only two employees: herself and her husband.  Their premiums went up 127 percent on account of the new law. Liz told me that she and her husband are regular, hardworking, healthy Americans. She said “we are not wealthy.  I really don’t know what will happen in the future.”

Seeing so many hardworking people have to spend the holiday season wondering ‘what’s next?’ – it’s heartbreaking.  And it’s wrong.

Watch Congresswoman Ellmer’s remarks below.

Duke Scholar: 129 Million Americans will lose Current Insurance due to Obamacare

Chris Conover

A renowned researcher at Duke University reported last week that full implementation of the Affordable Care Act will force 68% of Americans with private health insurance, or 129 million people, to lose their current coverage.

Chris Conover with Duke’s Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research and the American Enterprise Institute, shared these findings in a statement released last week in response to comments made by David Axelrod, former Senior Adviser for President Barack Obama.

Responding to a comment Axelrod made that the majority of Americans will keep their existing coverage, Conover stated, “I suppose one could interpret this as a tacit admission that at least for those not in the vast majority, Obamacare violates President Obama’s June 15, 2009 promise that ‘If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.’  But the sad reality is that David Axelrod himself also is dead wrong: it’s more accurate to say that the president’s pledge will be shattered for a solid majority of Americans with private health insurance coverage.”

Conover concluded that 129 million of the 189 million Americans with private health insurance will be forced off their plans as a result of the implementation of regulations and requirements of the Affordable Care Act. His analysis includes the following coverage eliminations:

  • 9.2 to 15.4 million in the non-group market
  • 16.6 million in the small group market
  • 102.7 million in the large group market

“Most of these are individuals involuntarily forced to purchase expensive add-ons to their existing plans,” Conover stated. “But included among these are the many millions now having their non-group policies cancelled along with 9 to 35 million who will lose their existing employer-provided plans entirely. Most admittedly will find other coverage, yet out of this group, 1.5 million will become uninsured, along with 2.3 million from the non-group market who likewise become uninsured because they simply cannot afford the expensive Obamacare upgrades.”

“In short, the ‘vast majority’ are not keeping their health plans. Statements to the contrary are flatly untrue.”

In a recent interview with The Daily Caller, Conover also discussed the significant impact of coverage mandates and how strict interpretation of “grandfather” clauses mentioned during President Obama’s promotion of health care reform would endanger existing health insurance options.

“Technically, every single health plan in the country already has been subject to at least some new Obamacare requirements. That is, even ‘grandfathered’ plans and self-insured plans were required to eliminate lifetime and annual limits and to cover dependents up to age 26 on their parent’s plan. Each of these “improvements” in coverage costs money, just as every feature you add to your car costs money (anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive)…

“So strictly speaking, NO ONE who was entirely satisfied with their pre-Obamacare coverage has been able to keep it.”

Congressman across the country have received calls from their constituents who received letters indicating their existing insurance plans, which they were supposed to be allowed to keep under the Affordable Care Act, have to be cancelled due to noncompliance with regulations.

North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones (R-3rd District) has called for Congressional hearings into the issue of cancellations and other cases where citizens are being forced to pay significant premium increases.

Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC 2nd)

“Individuals in Eastern North Carolina and across the country are being forced to pay exorbitant rate increases for new insurance plans that they do not want while being prohibited from visiting the doctors that they need,” said Congressman Jones in a letter to Congressional leadership.  “This runs directly contrary to the president’s promise that ‘if you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan’ and is further proof that this law is an unaffordable burden to the average American.”

The latest report from the Associated Press indicates that approximatley 160,000 individuals in North Carolina have so far received cancellation notices for their existing policies. As a comparison, a recent report by WNCN television showed that only 1 person had signed-up for coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange.

So far, at least 3.5 million Americans have received cancellation notices.

As part of ongoing damage control resulting from the rollout of Affordable Care Act provisions, including the establishment of health insurance marketplaces and the impending individual insurance coverage mandate, the Obama Administration is asking insurance companies to provide better explanations to current policy holders who are being told their existing policies are being cancelled.

 

Senator Hagan Joins “Delay” Chorus on Obamacare

Earlier this month, North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan stood firm with her Democratic Party colleagues against efforts by Senate Republicans to delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Now, with the government shutdown over and mounting challenges present with the rollout of the massive expansion of government’s healthcare footprint, Hagan has now somewhat changed her tune on whether or not the program’s “individual mandate” provision should be enforced and delayed.

On Thursday, Senator Hagan asked the Obama Administration to extend the initial enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act by two months. She also asked the Administration to hold off on enforcing fines scheduled for those who chose not to enroll in a health exchange or purchase qualifying health insurance by other means.

“Everyone should be committed to making this work and making health care more affordable, and if that requires fixes, then we need to make those commonsense changes,” Senator Hagan said. “An extension would provide time to assess the extent of the problems and determine whether additional delays in the individual mandate are necessary. But frankly, the Administration had plenty of time to get these websites user-ready, and I would like to keep the pressure on to get these problems fixed sooner rather than later so that North Carolina families can get online and shop for the plan that suits them best.”

On September 27th, Senator Hagan voted for a Senate-led plan that authorized a Continuing Resolution without delaying Affordable Care Act implementation, including enforcement of the individual mandate.

“North Carolinians didn’t elect me to shut down the government, harm our state’s families, and jeopardize our economic recovery,” Senator Hagan said then of her position. “I reject the political games being played in Congress, and I urge the House to pass the Senate’s plan that keeps the government running at currently reduced spending levels and prevents a damaging government shutdown.”

President Obama already announced this week that the deadline for enrollment without penalty will be extended to March 31, 2014. The extension resulted from problems associated with the launch of the Federal Healthcare Exchanges earlier this month, specifically the inability of the healthcare.gov website and other online services to work properly or handle incoming workload.

Not everyone is convinced the proposed extensions will really protect citizens from fines, especially in light of reports that hundreds of thousands of people across the country are having to reconsider health insurance options after learning that their existing, personally-owned insurance coverage has to be cancelled because it does not meet new Federal requirements.

From Kaiser Health News:

Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state. Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people – about half of its individual business in the state.  Insurer Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20 percent of its individual market customers, while Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is dropping about 45 percent.

Second District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R) proposed legislation this week in the House to provide further protections from the proposed fines.

“Since the launch of the Obamacare exchanges on October 1st, Healthcare.gov has been plagued with delays, errors and fundamental flaws in website design,” said Congresswoman Ellmers. “But despite these major malfunctions and structural defects, the administration still has penalties in place for individuals who can’t obtain coverage.”

Senator Hagan will be up for reelection next year.

Obamacare Exchange cuts NC Insurance Options

While four years of rhetoric by supporters of the Affordable Care Act stated that the program would broaden choices for citizens and enable those with health insurance to keep their existing plans, the upcoming reality for many in North Carolina may be just the opposite.

On October 1st, the Federal Government will open their managed health exchanges in states across the country, including North Carolina. When it happens, residents in the Tar Heel State will learn that only two health insurance companies will be participating in the program.

For residents of 61 North Carolina counties, the situation will be even more dire, as only one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, will be providing coverage.

“We are now four days away from Obamacare’s implementation and each moment, we are receiving new reports as to how devastating this law will be for the men and women of North Carolina,” said NC Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-2nd District) in a statement released Thursday. “Yesterday, we discovered that health insurance rates are expected to triple for women and quadruple for men in North Carolina once this law goes into effect. Today, we were informed that virtual monopolies are now being created to sell this poison pill to our people.”

Earlier this week, an article at Forbes detailed research findings from the Manhattan Institute showing that health care premiums for 27-year-old individuals in North Carolina will increase an average of 151% for women and 267% for men. These are among the most significant increases to be experienced as a result of the setup of the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

ACA Insurance Impact

“We were promised lower costs and more competition. Yet Obamacare is doing the exact opposite,” Congresswoman Ellmers said. “The whole point of an online marketplace was to provide options, so North Carolinians could go online, compare prices, and choose plans from different companies. That is how competition is supposed to work! Although seven insurance companies currently operate in North Carolina, under the new Obamacare exchanges, those options will dwindle down to one in the majority of counties.”

Congresswoman Ellmers joined the rest of the State’s Republican Delegation in the House of Representatives to support a bill last week that defunded the Affordable Care Act while providing a continuing resolution for other Federal spending.

The defunding provision will likely be taken out as the Senate considers the bill toward the end of this week, despite efforts by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and a handfull of others to point out the Affordable Care Act’s failures to live up to promised expectations.

Coventry Health Care, which is owned now by Aetna, will provide insurance coverage for residents in 39 counties. Locally, their map indicates coverage will be available to residents in Wake, Franklin, Nash, Edgecombe and Pitt Counties, but not Wilson, Northampton or Martin Counties.

Federal subsidies will be available to individuals making less than $46,000 a year and families of four earning less than $94,000 a year. According to reports, approximately 870,000 residents will be eligible for these subsidies, though levels of assistance will vary based on case-by-case characteristics.

Ellmers joins House demand for Senate vote on Obamacare Repeal

Eastern North Carolina Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R) joined more than 100 of her colleagues in the House of Representatives this week asking that the Senate hold a vote on legislation passed by the House Wednesday to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Members of both parties voted in support of this repeal,” Congresswoman Ellmers said, “and it is incumbent on us, as elected Representatives and Senators, to make a decision on issues that affect all Americans and future generations.”

Ellmers, a Registered Nurse and experience healthcare manager from Dunn, has been an ardent critic of the Affordable Care Act, and spoke in favor of its repeal during House debate on Tuesday.

The repeal passed in the House with a 240-182 vote, gaining the support of 5 Democrat Congressman. The Democrat-
controlled Senate, according to its Majority Leader, Harry Reid (NV), does not plan to allow for the bill to come to
their floor for a vote.

Apparently, Ellmers believes their unwillingness to vote on the bill is a sign of cowardice.

 “If Senator Reid is confident in his party’s majority in the Senate, and proud of the historic increase in taxes brought on by Obamacare, then there is no reason to deny each Senator their right to make their position known. This law was not presented to the American people as a tax, but now that it has been ruled one by the Supreme Court, the Senate has an obligation, as elected officials, to let the hardworking American taxpayers know where their Senator stands.”

“Great leaders rise in support of what they believe in because they are emboldened by the courage to defend their principles. The failure to do so only diminishes the worthiness of their cause.”

Click here for Congresswoman Ellmers’ formal statements on the repeal vote and request for Senate action.