Lipinski bill just common sense
By Beverly Review
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) demonstrated much-needed common sense when he introduced the Health Care Access Fairness and Penalty Delay Act on Oct. 30.
The legislation would require the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services to certify when the healthcare.govWeb site, the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace Internet site, is fully operational and allow people up to 90 days from that date to enroll in a plan. The legislation would also prohibit penalties from commencing until 120 days after the Web site is deemed functional.
The bill, co-sponsored by eight Democratic colleagues in the House, reflects the growing frustration in both parties with Obamacare’s online health insurance market.
Since its launch, the Web site has been plagued by problems that have prevented many people from successfully shopping for insurance. While issues such as frozen screens were attributed to the onslaught of multiple users signing on at one time, persistent design flaws in the software are reportedly creating headaches for both users and insurance companies.
Lipinski said that he empathized with the frustration experienced by many of his constituents as he attempted to shop for his healthcare plan using the District of Columbia small-business marketplace site.
While Lipinski did not vote for the Affordable Care Act—he was the only Illinois Democrat to vote “no” on the health reform bill—he believes it is important to work for its success now that it is law. Contrary to proposals made by House Republicans and some Democrats that call for a one-year delay in the individual mandate, Lipinski said, it is necessary for people to enroll as soon as the Web site is functional.
“Time is important because you need people to sign up for it in order for it to work,” Lipinski said. “You need 7 million people, including the young and healthy, for the economics to work.”
In other words, the system needs lower-cost people to balance the financial burden placed on it by the higher-cost people. Without that balance, insurance companies cannot cover the cost of the program, and Obamacare will crash and burn.
The death of Obamacare would have disastrous social and financial consequences as the millions of Americans with pre-existing medical conditions are deemed uninsurable and the millions of dollars already invested in the program are washed away. Lipinski’s bill will not fix Obamacare, but it may help prevent its death.
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