Arkansas Republicans pile on HHS Secretary Sebelius | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 28, 2013

Arkansas Republicans pile on HHS Secretary Sebelius

Posted By on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM

The Republicans in the Arkansas congressional delegation — Reps. Tom Cotton, Tim Griffin, Rick Crawford and Steve Womack and Sen. John Boozman — are joining the pile-on of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for the flaws besetting the website to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Read their letter to her here. From a summary:

“We are now seeing the detrimental impact of the flawed law on health-insurance rates across Arkansas,” the letter states. “While the average Arkansas family has seen their income fall 9% over the past decade, the government regulations and mandates of Obamacare will require these same families to pay between 100% and 600% more for comparable insurance coverage, or risk losing their family doctor if they choose a plan that costs less.”

The letter also discusses the numerous problems with the rollout of the Obamacare exchanges and the burden they place on hard-working Arkansans. It requests Secretary Sebelius provide correspondence and information pertaining to: 1) HHS’s knowledge of the impact this law would have on the number of state insurance providers, 2) state stakeholders’ knowledge of the exchanges’ status leading up to their October 1, 2013, launch date, and 3) the number of confirmed enrollments in Arkansas.

Fair enough. But here's a tip for the Repubs: The inquiries received by the Insurance Department should be readily available under the state FOI.

Also: It might help if the Arkansas Republicans in Congress would encourage their GOP brethren in the Arkansas legislature to relent on opposition to the Arkansas Insurance Department's desire to update its website and publicize options under the state's implementation of the ACA so as to increase the number of people participating. 

Not going to happen. Republicans WANT the signup number to be low and to remain low. Broad participation is necessary for optimization of the plan. That's why so many Republican-controlled states have declined to go along. It would also do the Republican delegation well to know that where states developed  their own insurance exchanges, things have gone a lot better. That's what Gov. Mike Beebe wanted. Republicans wouldn't allow it, preferring to let Washington handle the job. Just a friendly reminder.

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