- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2013

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the plagued Obamacare rollout has been “absolute chaos” and a sign of what’s to come from the controversial law, which he called an “expensive joke.”

Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said that once people are able to log in to the Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov, they are going to find out that they have fewer health care choices and higher insurance premiums than they could have had on the private market.

“This can’t possibly ever work,” he told WKYX-FM. “The difficulty with the website is just the first experience people are having with it. It is just going to get worse down the road.”

Mr. McConnell’s comments came as the lead contractor of the HealthCare.gov website was scheduled to testify Thursday before the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is looking for answers to why the rollout has been so rocky.

Republicans have pounced on the website problems as proof that the Affordable Care Act is doomed to fail.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, predicted Wednesday that by the end of the month, more Americans will have lost their insurance by being kicked off existing health plans than the number who were able to sign up in the website.

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“The government is not going to be able to do the business of selling health insurance better than the private sector could have,” Mr. McConnell said Thursday. “That was one of the many fallacies associated with Obamacare from the very beginning.”

Asked about a new Fox News poll that showed six in 10 Americans feel the implementation of Obamacare has been a joke, Mr. McConnell quipped that the law is an “expensive joke.”

Mr. McConnell downplayed the notion that he is at odds with tea partyers who supported Sen. Ted Cruz’s push to reject any spending bills that included funding for Obamacare — a tactic that members of both parties blame for the 16-day government shutdown.

“We all agree — that is, all Republicans — that Obamacare ought to be pulled out root and branch, but this is a tactic that cannot and will not work,” he said. “And, of course, it did not work because Senate Democrats were not interested in doing that.”

Mr. McConnell said he was not asking for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign over the technical glitches plaguing the Obamacare rollout because “I don’t think, frankly, that this thing is fixable.

“I’m not sure there is any genius they can bring in and clean it up,” Mr. McConnell said, adding that the best way to scrap the law is at the ballot box. “The way to get rid of Obamacare is to make me majority leader and elect a new president.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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