- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Sebelius visits Capitol Hill to stop health care law ‘train wreck’
President Obama’s top health official tried Thursday to stanch Republican lawmakers’ complaints about the federal health care law amid growing concerns from both sides of the aisle that the administration is facing a “train wreck” as it prepares to go live with key parts of the system next year.
One congressman demanded that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explore when oral contraceptives cross the line into chemical abortions — an issue that could complicate the administration’s contraceptive mandate. Other lawmakers pointed to a Maryland insurance company’s decision to seek a 25 percent boost in premiums, saying that undercuts the health care law’s promise of lower costs.
Concerns over the law have been brewing since it was enacted three years ago, but were inflamed last week when Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat and one of the architects of the act, said he sees “a huge train wreck coming” if officials can’t get a handle on the parts slated to go into effect next year.
She said she does not expect delays in the state exchanges, where people who don’t have health care plans through their companies can buy insurance with the aid of government subsidies.
She acknowledged that money is tight, though she blamed Congress for not giving her the additional funding she requested this year to carry out the law.
“Having failed in both of those efforts, through the work of the United States Congress, we are then using the resources available within the department to make sure we implement the law of the land,” she said.
The health care law remains so toxic politically that when Politico reported that lawmakers were considering exempting themselves and their staffs, all sides rushed to dismiss that as an option.
“There are not now, have never been, nor will there ever be any discussions about exempting members of Congress or congressional staff from Affordable Care Act provisions that apply to any employees of any other public or private employer offering health care,” said Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.
At issue is whether the federal government would be allowed to pay part of staffers’ health care premiums — a move that could affect low-paid aides in particular.
Among Republicans, the health care law is such an anathema that when House Republican leaders tried to pass a bill cutting a section on preventive health care funding in order to support another program to help those with pre-existing conditions acquire coverage, their own troops rebelled, saying they didn’t want any part of rescuing the law.
Republican leaders had to pull their bill from the calendar.
In her two-hour appearance Thursday, when Mrs. Sebelius explained why her department has had to shuffle money and why the pre-existing condition fund was running low on funds, Republicans accused her of using the disease prevention money as a “slush fund.”
“I have concerns about where this money comes from,” said subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican.
Mrs. Sebelius reiterated that lawmakers had only themselves to blame for the agency’s fiscal maneuvering.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama admin.: One in 10 Obamacare forms might have errors
- Obama administration knew of key Obamacare delay in August, emails say
- House Speaker John Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
- Young millennials shun Obamacare, creating risky imbalance
Latest Blog Entries
- Calif.: Give 'gift of health' by pledging cash for the uninsured
- Tensions hit boiling point over Obamacare enrollment figures, error rates
- Young, uninsured adults vital to Obamacare are not keen on enrolling: New Harvard poll
- Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox will promote Obamacare at Mall of America
- HealthCare.gov employs a new look once again
By Tom Fitton
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow