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“It’s not nonsense,” countered former Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican. “Massachusetts, by the way, has the highest insurance rates in country, so for all the ‘good’ it does, people pay a lot, and that’s what you’re going to see. When this website eventually gets fixed, the problems really begin for this administration.”
Mr. Santorum predicted that Obamacare’s worst days are still ahead, saying the insurance plans offered have few doctors and hospitals in their networks, meaning that those who enroll on the federal health insurance exchange will have fewer options for medical care.
“Why? Because this bill set prices at such levels that doctors and hospitals, particularly the ones that are in high demand, do not participate in these programs,” said Mr. Santorum, who lost to Mr. Romney in the 2012 Republican presidential primary.
One of the House’s most powerful Republicans, Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the administration still hasn’t proved the site is secure.
“The security of this site and the private information does not meet even the minimal standards of the private sector, and that concerns me,” said Mr. Rogers, who leads the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “I don’t care if you’re for it or against it, Republican or Democrat, we should not tolerate the sheer level of incompetence securing this site.”
The Affordable Care Act would have a better chance of succeeding if Republicans would stop criticizing it and give it their support, said Mr. Dean. The bill was approved in 2009 by House and Senate Democrats with no Republican votes.
“For once, we ought to pull together and try to make this thing work. It can work,” said Mr. Dean, who is a physician. “Look, I was just as much of a critic of this bill as anybody else, but I think we ought to pull together and make the thing work, and I think it can work. I think 30 million more Americans are going to have health insurance, and there’s more work to be done.”
Obamacare enrollment barely crested at 100,000 on the federal portal and state-run exchanges during the first month, raising serious questions about whether the administration can meet its projected goal of 7 million enrollees by the end of open enrollment on March 31.
State-run exchanges reported a surge in enrollment during November, but it’s unclear whether the federal system will be able to match their success stories.
“The status of HealthCare.gov in October was marked by an unacceptable user experience,” Sunday’s report acknowledged. “Consumers were experiencing slow response times and frequent, inexplicable error messages. The website experienced frequent outages. For some weeks in the month of October, the site was down an estimated 60 percent of the time.”
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About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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