Rep. Phil Roe
Members of Congress have received health insurance coverage through a federal plan, but now they are required to sign up with the health insurance exchanges in Obamacare.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., isn’t happy about it.
“If I could get out of the exchange, I would get out of it,” Roe said during a recent conference call with reporters. “I never wanted in it to start with. We’re the only group of people in the country specifically required by law to buy insurance through the exchange.”
Roe is also incensed he has to purchase a top-of-the-line “gold” plan in the exchange.
“We’re required by law to buy a gold plan, the next and most expensive plan,” he said. “For me it’s going to be a huge increase in my premium. I’m going to end up paying more and not getting anything more for it. What you buy is prescribed by the federal government. (My wife and I) don’t need pregnancy coverage or pediatric dental coverage and many other things in there.
“Instead of allowing people to purchase coverage that fits their needs, Washington has now decided that for you.”
Roe also said he has been unable to sign up for health insurance exchange coverage through the much-maligned HealthCare.gov website.
“I tried to sign up five times. ... I have an appointment with a (health insurance exchange) navigator on Dec. 3, and I have to do it,” he explained.
Under Obamacare — also known as the Affordable Care Act — all Americans must have health insurance coverage in 2014.
Those without coverage will have to pay a penalty of $95 per adult, $47.50 per child, or one percent of their income (whichever is higher) to the Internal Revenue Service, according to the health care reform law. The penalty is scheduled to increase every year.
Roe is sponsoring a Republican legislative alternative to the law called the American Health Care Reform Act. His bill has 112 House co-sponsors but no companion legislation sponsor in the U.S. Senate.
Still, Roe insisted his bill, which calls for repealing Obamacare and advocates buying health insurance across state lines, should pick up traction in 2014.
“Once we get to 117 (co-sponsors) which is a majority of the (GOP) majority in the House, we will ask the leadership to push this and other bills through the committees and then to the House floor,” Roe said of his bill. “My bill will be open to amendments, and I will seek out someone (to sponsor the bill) on the Senate side. ... If a Democrat has a good idea, I will be more than happy to listen to it.”
Roe also remains critical of the Obama administration’s continued rollout of the health care reform law despite ongoing glitches in the HealthCare.gov website.
“We said ‘Look, if you will just delay the law’s individual mandate (forcing people to buy health insurance), we’ll be sure to give you a debt ceiling increase for a year,’” Roe said of House Republicans’ talks with the Obama administration. “They went ahead and shut the government down knowing what they know, that the website was not ready to work and not ready for prime time. ... Ultimately they will delay the mandate for a year because in fairness, you cannot force people to buy something they can’t buy.”