Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has a message for anyone who has been less than thrilled by their experiences with Obamacare’s online insurance exchanges: I feel your pain.
Toomey, in the weekly Republican address on Saturday, recalled his wife Kris’ frustrating experience with Obamacare website HealthCare.gov.
“When Kris went onto the website, she typed in all our personal information and that of all our three children,” he said. “And then, when she tried to browse the various plans, the website denied her. She tried again, and it still didn’t work. When she called someone and asked for help, she was told the system just wasn’t working right now and it was best to try again later.”
And that “fiasco,” Toomey said, “is being experienced by Americans all across the country when they try to sign up for health insurance.”
The debut of the law’s online insurance exchanges on Oct. 1 was marked by an almost completely dysfunctional website at the program’s core. Administration officials set a goal to have the website functioning smoothly for the “vast majority of users” by the end of November.When the deadline arrived, officials touted considerable progress in bringing the website up to speed, but Toomey insisted on Saturday that the website problems are “just the tip of the iceberg.”
The Pennsylvania Republican criticized President Obama’s assurance that people who liked their plans could keep them under Obamacare.
“Millions of Americans are now finding out that was never true,” he said. “The fact is, Obamacare was designed to cancel many plans that people had and people liked – the president now admits as much.”
In place of the president’s health care law, Toomey proposed a plan that he said “doesn’t require a wholesale government takeover of the system,” ticking off a few components of his proposal. “I’d like to give individuals the same tax benefits enjoyed by employers buying insurance for their employees,” he said. “We can make it easier to carry health insurance from job to job or to purchase it across state lines. We can help small businesses pool together to get quality coverage for their workers at lower prices. We can rein in frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits that drive up medical costs for everyone.”
At the heart of his objections, Toomey said, is a conviction that the government shouldn’t decide what kind of health coverage best suits each individual family. “I think Americans should be free to choose the insurance coverage that’s right for them,” he said. “That choice should not be in the hands of the Obama administration or at the mercy of malfunctioning government websites.”