WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee offers the following questions for President Obama’s press conference this afternoon:
1. When did the administration make this decision to delay the individual mandate for the millions of people whose plans they cancelled? Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) just last week asked Secretary Sebelius point blank what changes or delays we should expect over the holidays, but she failed to disclose any plans. The administration has already announced two delays since Sebelius testified.
2. Your administration has already exempted businesses and individuals whose plans were cancelled because of the health law’s mandate; what do you say to the rest of the country being forced to comply with your costly health law or pay a penalty? Why not provide relief to all Americans? How can you force anybody to pay a penalty for not purchasing a product from a website that was down as recently as this morning?
3. Do these catastrophic plans offer better coverage than the plans that have been cancelled? If catastrophic plans are a good option for Americans whose plans have been cancelled, will they be available to other Americans still struggling to find affordable coverage?
4. With all of the delays and exemptions your administration has granted, how will the IRS accurately verify who is and is not exempt from the health law’s onerous mandate? NBC’s Chuck Todd posed a similar question to White House deputy senior advisor David Simas this morning, and Simas failed to answer.
5. #What’sNext? The administration has delayed or repealed parts of its signature health care law 38 times, including last night’s partial delay of the individual mandate. HealthCare.gov has caused headaches and technology nightmares for individuals attempting to sign up and insurers attempting to complete applications. This law was not ready for prime time. What’s next?