Issue: Health Care

WALORSKI STATEMENT ON OBAMACARE’S EMPLOYER MANDATE DELAY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski released the following statement after the Administration’s announcement that the employer mandate in Obamacare will be delayed for a second year, meaning employers with less than 100 employees will not have to provide health insurance in 2015:

“The Administration’s decision to delay the employer mandate—for the second time in less than a year—proves the fundamental provisions of this law are bad policies for American families and businesses.

“Just last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed that Obamacare will slow down the economy and incentivize millions of Americans to work less—moving our nation in the wrong direction.

“When it comes to Obamacare, Hoosiers do not want another Band-Aid. Instead, they want lawmakers to eliminate unworkable provisions, like the employer mandate, that prevent individuals from getting back into the workforce and supporting their families. It is time for the Obama Administration to face the music and listen to the American people, who want Washington to focus on commonsense solutions to improve our broken health care system without causing more damage to the economy.”

WALORSKI APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF GABRIELLA MILLER KIDS FIRST RESEARCH ACT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As an original co-sponsor, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski today applauded the bipartisan passage of the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, H.R. 2019. This bill would eliminate $126 million in federal funding for presidential campaigns and conventions, redirecting this amount to pediatric medical research.

“During the holiday season, it is a delight to see lawmakers reach across the aisle and pass a smart bill that redirects funding to pediatric medical research, helping families in Indiana and across the nation. This straightforward legislation would support new initiatives to improve medical technology and find cures for our children. I am encouraged by the House’s bipartisan efforts, and hope the Senate will quickly pass this bill as well.”

Several children’s advocacy associations support the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Last week, Congresswoman Walorski met with local children, parents, and community members from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to discuss their goals and hear about the everyday challenges facing families.

In attendance was Susan from South Bend, who was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 1965 at the age of twelve. She recalled the daily challenges of using glass syringes and dull metal needles that made treatment difficult. Thanks to improved research and technology, Susan’s son, Eric, who also suffers from Type 1 diabetes, has experienced a more comfortable lifestyle. Susan said, “He is able to benefit from new technologies, but none of them is a cure.”

Passage of the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act will allocate funding for juvenile diabetes research and many others—including but not limited to autism, childhood cancer, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome.

With a vote of 295-103, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act will next be referred to the Senate for consideration.

WALORSKI APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF THE “KEEP YOUR HEALTH PLAN ACT”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski released the following statement after House passage of H.R. 3350, the Keep Your Health Plan Act, a bill she co-sponsored:

“Today’s vote represents a step in the right direction for Hoosiers and Americans across the country. This commonsense legislation restores the broken promise President Obama made to the American people by ensuring they can keep the health care plans they like and need into next year.

“I continue to hear shocking stories from Hoosiers across the Second District reporting cancelled plans, higher premiums, and fewer care options due to Obamacare. It is unfair for our families to enter the holiday season under additional stress and frustration because of this disastrous health care rollout.”

“Despite the president’s veto threat, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to vote on this bill immediately so that Americans can keep their health care plans and regain some peace of mind.”

WALORSKI, UPTON SUPPORT THE KEEP YOUR HEALTH PLAN ACT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today announced support for the Keep Your Health Plan Act, a bill introduced yesterday by Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06), to protect the many Americans whose health plans are being cancelled due to Obamacare.

“Choosing a health care plan is a personal decision that should not be dictated by the federal government. It is unfair for our families to lose their health care plans because of Obamacare, especially after the president personally promised the American people that this would not happen. Unfortunately, some Hoosiers have already been notified of premium increases and discontinued insurance plans due to reforms in the health care law. Our families are clearly frustrated with the health care overhaul and deserve to know that they can keep their preferred plans,” said Walorski.

“Sadly, folks across Michiana and the nation are now finding out the harsh reality of the President’s broken promise that if you like your health plan you’ll be able to keep it, ‘no matter what.’ What’s worse, media reports now reveal the administration has known for three years that they could not keep this promise, and yet they kept repeating it. This is a matter of fairness. We are working together to provide folks the peace of mind that they will be allowed to keep their current coverage if they so choose,” said Upton.

President Obama repeatedly promised, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” Unfortunately, many Americans across the country are all too familiar with the consequences of the president’s broken promise and are already receiving health plan termination notices in the mail.

The Keep Your Head Plan Act would allow health care plans available today on the individual market to continue to be offered so Americans have the option to keep the plan they have if they like it. The bill also ensures that Americans maintaining their health care plan would not face a penalty under the Affordable Care Act.

WALORSKI STATEMENT ON OBAMACARE DELAY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski released the following statement in response to the Obama Administration’s Wednesday night announcement that individuals have been granted an additional 6 weeks to sign up for Obamacare without penalty, extending the deadline for penalty-free enrollment to March 31st:

“Last night, the White House granted Americans a six-week delay before incurring penalties due to more flaws in Obamacare.

“Regardless of the excuses offered by the Administration, this announcement reflects fundamental problems with Obamacare that continue to trouble the American people and cost jobs. I have already been contacted by Hoosiers sighting increased premiums and difficulty navigating the health care exchange website—the complaints keep stacking up. Just yesterday we learned the Franciscan Alliance, one of the state’s largest hospital systems, is cutting 925 jobs—citing Obamacare as a factor.

“A six-week grace period is no more than a Band-Aid. Instead, I urge the White House and Senate to join the House and pass a permanent delay for the individual mandate to prevent forced enrollment into a poorly structured health care system. It is time for Congress to work together on a step-by-step approach that will efficiently lower health care cost and provide quality care to patients.”

Earlier this week, Congresswoman Walorski authored a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting health insurance exchange enrollment numbers for the State of Indiana, particularly the Second District. Since open enrollment began on October 1st, several malfunctions have been reported with the health care exchange website.

WALORSKI, INDIANA LAWMAKERS CALL FOR HEALTH CARE ENROLLMENT NUMBERS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and Hoosier lawmakers sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today requesting information on the number of Hoosiers currently enrolled in the health care exchange. Over the past three weeks, numerous malfunctions and problems have been reported with the website, preventing applicants from successfully enrolling in the health care exchange.

“We have received numerous reports from Hoosiers who have been unable to enroll due to website malfunctions as well as complaints from Hoosiers who can no longer afford the new premium amounts. As we work to assist these constituents, it is important that we are able to provide them accurate data regarding the health insurance exchange,” wrote lawmakers.

Since Saturday, roughly 476,000 applications have been filed in state-run and federally-run health insurance exchanges that started October 1st. These filed applications do not represent the number of individuals who have actually obtained coverage through the exchange. The Administration has released no information to the public on this figure. Low enrollment numbers have been largely attributed to technical problems, such as trouble creating accounts and confusing error messages.

This Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing to examine the health care law’s rollout. To date, Secretary Sebelius has refused to testify, despite written requests from the committee to reconsider the invitation.

Full text of the letter:

October 21, 2013

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary of Health and Human Services
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Secretary Sebelius,

We are writing to request information about the number of Hoosiers who have applied for and enrolled in insurance plans on the health insurance exchange since its launch on October 1, 2013.

Please provide the total number of applicants in Indiana as well as the number of applicants in each Indiana congressional district. Please also provide the total number of enrollees in Indiana as well as the number of enrollees in each Indiana congressional district.

We have received numerous reports from Hoosiers who have been unable to enroll due to website malfunctions as well as complaints from Hoosiers who can no longer afford the new premium amounts. As we work to assist these constituents, it is important that we are able to provide them accurate data regarding the health insurance exchange.

We look forward to receiving the requested information in a timely fashion and appreciate your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Rep. Jackie Walorski
Senator Dan Coats
Rep. Susan Brooks
Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D.
Rep. Luke Messer
Rep. Todd Rokita
Rep. Marlin Stutzman
Rep. Todd Young

WALORSKI: “IT IS UNFAIR FOR THE PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO RECEIVE SPECIAL PERKS”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) tonight voted for a continuing resolution that prevents a government shutdown, eliminates Obamacare subsidies for the President, Members of Congress, and their staff, and delays the individual mandate. Walorski is an original co-sponsor of the James Madison Congressional Accountability Act, a bill included in the continuing resolution to prevent special Obamacare subsidies for the President, Members of Congress, and their staff.

“Plainly stated, it is unfair for the president and Members of Congress to receive special perks from Obamacare. Since enactment, the president has granted multiple Obamacare waivers and exemptions to big businesses, labor unions, and Members of Congress—picking winners and losers at the expense of the American people. If Washington Democrats continue to defend Obamacare, they should follow the law under the same conditions as the American people.”

Walorski continued, “The House passed three proposals to prevent a government shutdown and dismantle the harmful impacts of Obamacare; meanwhile, Senate Democrats refuse to negotiate a responsible solution.”

“The House continues to offer a compromise to fund the government and provide essential services to the American people. It is unfair for the Senate to turn a blind eye and encourage a government shutdown that will unfairly affect seniors, veterans, servicemembers, and our families.”

“I urge President Obama and Senate Democrats to act on a continuing resolution that averts a government shutdown and supports fairness for all Americans.”

WALORSKI VOTES TO PREVENT GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, DELAY OBAMACARE

House approves continuing resolution to fund government, delay Obamacare, and repeal medical device tax

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) voted to avert a government shutdown, while delaying Obamacare for one year and repealing the medical device tax.

“Once again, the House voted to reaffirm our commitment to the American people and keep the government funded, as we chip away at the harmful impacts of Obamacare. Hoosiers continue to send messages to my office explaining how Obamacare is driving up their insurance premiums, cutting employment hours, and burdening their families and businesses. This commonsense measure ensures the government provides essential services to our families, including senior citizens, veterans, and servicemembers. It also delays Obamacare for one year and repeals the medical device tax, an onerous tax that has already cost hundreds of good-paying Hoosier jobs,” said Walorski.

Since January, the medical device tax has claimed an estimated 10,000 jobs nationwide, prohibiting expansion and eliminating funds for research and development. Walorski is a co-sponsor of H.R. 523, a bill to repeal the medical device tax, and has supported legislation to delay Obamacare for one year. According to members of the Indiana medical device industry, repealing the medical device tax in the continuing resolution would be a victory for hundreds of medical device companies in Indiana, including Zimmer Holdings, Inc. and Biomet, Inc.

“Zimmer supports congressional efforts to repeal the medical device tax as part of must-pass legislation being considered on Capitol Hill,” said Chris Cerone, Vice President of Government Affairs at Zimmer Holdings, Inc. He continued, “This tax continues to hamper investments in research and manufacturing of new medical technologies. The tax ultimately threatens patient access to new advances in medical technology, including orthopedic technologies. “

Bill Kolter, Corporate Vice President Marketing and Public Affairs at Biomet, Inc. wrote in a statement, “Repealing the device tax will be a positive step in the right direction to strengthen the U.S. economy, U.S. high-technology manufacturing, innovative small businesses, new job creation, and the quality and cost-effectiveness of healthcare.”

Peggy Welch, the Executive Director of the Indiana Medical Device Manufacturers Council, also voiced support for the resolution, saying “The repeal of the medical device tax will allow newer and smaller companies to continue the production of innovative life-saving and life-enhancing products. The repeal will also help Indiana to retain and create quality, good-wage middle-class jobs.”

This resolution will now be referred to the Senate. Congress must pass a spending bill before September 30th to avoid a government shutdown.

WALORSKI BACKS MEASURE ELIMINATING HEALTH CARE SUBSIDIES FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

Congresswoman supports bill to prevent taxpayer subsidies for Administration, lawmakers, and congressional staff

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today announced her support for the James Madison Congressional Accountability Act to prevent the Administration, Members of Congress, and congressional staff from receiving a special subsidy to minimize personal insurance cost increases in the Obamacare health insurance exchange. This bill, authored by Congressman Ron DeSantis, was crafted in response to the Office of Personnel Management’s ruling that allows Members of Congress and their staff to receive taxpayer-funded partial subsidies for health insurance plans offered in the exchange.

“The Administration should not be allowed to pick winners and losers when it comes to enforcing Obamacare. If the White House thinks it is appropriate to permit exemptions for the very individuals responsible for crafting this unworkable legislation, then the same privilege should be applied to the rest of the American people,” said Walorski. “The bottom line is flawed Obamacare policies should not be forced on anyone, and this law should be defunded and repealed to prevent further damage to hardworking families and the economy.”

On October 1st, open enrollment for the state and federal Obamacare insurance exchanges begins. For a sixth month period, individuals and small business owners will be permitted to shop for insurance plans in the exchanges, ahead of the January 1, 2014 requirement that all U.S. residents obtain health care coverage.

Key portions of the law have been delayed due to lack of preparation, and projected costs are skyrocketing. In Indiana, the average cost of health plans is expected to increase by 72 percent. The Obama Administration has selectively exempted multiple groups from fully participating in Obamacare, including labor unions, associations, and various self-insured employers, to protect them from the harmful impacts of the law. The Administration has already signed seven bills passed by the House of Representatives to dismantle portions of Obamacare, including legislation to repeal onerous mandates burdening small businesses and protect taxpayer-dollars.

WALORSKI, DAVIS CALL ON PRESIDENT TO PERMANENTLY DELAY HEALTH CARE LAW

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Jackie Walorski (IN-02) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) led a letter to President Obama requesting the permanent delay of Obamacare for all Americans. Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed two bills to delay the employer and individual mandates in Obamacare for one-year, following the Administration’s announcement to delay implantation of the employer mandate, a key provision of the health care law.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has failed to deliver on its promises to the American people and will result in higher deficits, higher taxes, and higher costs. Your administration’s consistent inability to implement certain measures demonstrates that the law is unworkable and bad policy. The decision to delay provides relief for some Americans, but we believe all Americans deserve permanent relief from this burdensome law,” wrote the Representatives.

The letter was also signed by Representatives Susan Brooks, Andy Barr, Ann Wagner, Brad Wenstrup, Chris Collins, Chris Stewart, David Joyce, Doug LaMalfa, George Holding, Jim Bridenstine, Kerry Bentivolio, Kevin Cramer, Paul Cook, Randy Weber, Richard Hudson, Robert Pittenger, Roger Williams, Scott Perry, Steve Daines, Steve Stockman, and Ted Yoho.

A similar letter was sent to the President last week by all 45 Republican Senators.

Full Text of the Letter:

The Honorable Barack Obama
President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express grave concern regarding your administration’s insistence that temporary delays will resolve all of the problems associated with implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, P.L. 111-148). Your administration’s recent decision to delay the employer mandate for a year concedes what the American people have been saying since day one—this law will not work. This is why we ask you to permanently delay the entire law.

This is not the first time one of the law’s costly and burdensome measures has failed to be implemented. In fact, there is a growing list of programs that your administration has abandoned, delayed, or revised. The Community Living Assistance Services and Support Program, or CLASS ACT, is just one example. This unsustainable program was abandoned by your administration after finding it was too costly and too complex to implement.

After your administration realized it would inevitably fail to meet a deadline for the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, your officials decided to delay the option workers were promised for choosing from multiple insurance carriers and, in the meantime, decided employers would pick one insurance provider for all employees. The uncertainty stemming from an inability to fulfill what was promised to these small businesses is inexcusable.

Many Americans will join health insurance exchanges at the end of this year; however, the promise of completion appears far from reality as government officials have missed several recent deadlines. In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that “many state activities remain to be completed and some were behind schedule.” In addition, the costs to build these health insurance exchanges ballooned to $4.4 billion for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 and will reach $5.7 billion in 2014. These ever-growing costs demonstrate just how unaffordable the PPACA is.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has failed to deliver on its promises to the American people and will result in higher deficits, higher taxes, and higher costs. Your administration’s consistent inability to implement certain measures demonstrates that the law is unworkable and bad policy. The decision to delay provides relief for some Americans, but we believe all Americans deserve permanent relief from this burdensome law. We urge you to permanently delay the implementation of this law in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Jackie Walorski Rodney Davis

Member of Congress Member of Congress

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