Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton Delivers the Weekly Republican Address

October 26, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – In the Weekly Republican Address, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) highlighted efforts to provide fairness for all Americans under the president’s health care law, and get to the bottom of what went wrong with its rollout. The committee will hear from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday, October 30 and Upton notes that "the bipartisan chorus has been growing ... to delay the penalty that Americans would face for being unable to purchase insurance through this broken system.”

The committee last week heard from four of the health care law's top contractors in an effort to understand what led to the botched rollout of the health law, who is responsible, and when or if the groups involved recognized the challenges that lay ahead. Concluding his address, Upton asks Americans facing hardships from the president’s broken promises to visit gop.gov/YourStory to share their experiences.

Chairman Upton’s full remarks below:

Hey there. I’m Michigan Representative Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Our panel has been active in crafting solutions to improve health care for the American people, as well as conducting thoughtful oversight of the president’s health care law.

Over the last year, we have become all too familiar with the troubled rollout of the law with its broken promises, missed deadlines, delays, special waivers, and now website crashes.

This week, in this committee room, four of the lead contractors responsible for the troubled healthcare.gov website testified about what went wrong.

Next week, we will hear directly from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  Despite hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars invested, the website still does not work for most.

At a time when we can do everything from ordering a pizza, flowers, or airline tickets, or banking and paying bills, they expect the same reliable service from healthcare.gov – and it’s still not ready for primetime.

Over the months leading up to the October 1 launch, top administration officials and lead contractors appeared before this committee, looked us in the eye, and assured us repeatedly that everything was “on track.”

Except that it wasn’t, as we now know all too well.

The broken healthcare.gov website has captured the nation’s attention, but this is more than a website problem.  We are also concerned about what happens next.

Will enrollment glitches become provider payment glitches?

Will patients show up at their doctor’s office or hospital only to be told they aren’t in the system?

And is the personal information Americans provide as part of the enrollment process safe from cyber hackers and identity theft.

Oversight is not about blame – it is about accountability… transparency. And it’s about fairness for the American public.

In a few short months, families across the country will be subject to penalties under the law’s individual mandate.

How can the administration punish innocent Americans by forcing them to buy a product many cannot afford, from a system that does not work?

And what about the promises that health care costs would go down, and that Americans could keep their health plans if they liked them, “No matter what?”

The reality in communities across America is that premiums are going higher – for some, as much as 400 percent higher.

And millions of Americans are receiving unwelcome notices that their plans are being terminated. Believe it or not, more people are receiving cancellation notices in just three states than are applying in all 50 states.

This is not what health reform promised.

In the past few days, the bipartisan chorus has been growing to delay the individual mandate, to delay the penalty that Americans would face for being unable to purchase insurance through this broken system.

This is good news.

The business mandate was delayed, and it’s only fair that individuals and families receive the same treatment.

Likewise, we should look for bipartisan solutions to allow Americans to keep their current insurance.

After all, that was President Obama’s solemn promise during the health care debate.

We will continue working toward patient-centered reforms that keep costs down for folks, all the while improving quality of care. This is a matter of fairness for all.

If you are facing hardships as a result of the law, we want to hear from you. Please go to http://gop.gov/YourStory to share your experience.

Thank you.  And God Bless.

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