Senior Policy Analyst
Independent Women's Voice
Did you hear about the recent Senate hearing where Gary Cohen, a top Obama administration health care official and head of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, appeared before the Senate Finance Committee, its chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), and Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA)?
No, you say? Well, we could hardly blame you if you haven't. As the always entertaining James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal points out, the hearing seems only to have received any media coverage in two specialized publications: The Hill and Kaiser Health News.
But, as Taranto highlights, at this hearing the aforementioned Senators (all of whom voted for ObamaCare) "tore into [Cohen]." Why, you ask?
[Washington Sen.] Cantwell, the Hill reports, "criticized the administration for delaying implementation of the Basic Health Program--an option for states to provide cost-efficient health coverage outside of Medicaid and the law's new insurance exchanges." It was supposed to start next year but the administration is delaying it until 2015. Cantwell asked Cohen: "Are you artificially raising the cost to all taxpayers by trying to lure them onto the exchange?" (Cohen said no, the Basic Health Plan, in the Hill's paraphrase, "simply had to take a backseat to other priorities.")
You'd think if the Obama administration was attempting to compel people into ObamaCare's exchanges, it might merit a little news coverage? But wait, there's more:
"Wyden pressed Cohen to help find ways to resolve a glitch in the law which may result in the denial of federal assistance to millions of Americans of modest means who could be priced out of family health coverage at work," according to Kaiser. At issue is an IRS ruling limiting federal subsidies for such plans. Said Wyden: "We've got millions of people--working-class, middle-class people--who are going to be pushed into a regulatory health coverage no man's land." So much for President Obama's promise that if you like your plan, you can keep it.
This is hardly the first instance where the President's promise that if you like your coverage you can keep it has been proven false. But, needless to say, the Senators who voted for this legislative monstrosity are stepping up to take responsibility for it. Or not:
"Democrats are getting nervous and consequently are trying to put some distance between themselves and the ACA," [blogger Walter Russell] Mead observes, ... "We don't blame them for trying, but it may be a futile effort. For better or worse, their fates are now tied to that of Obamacare."
Indeed there isn't much point in blaming them for trying. But they deserve the blame for imposing this monstrosity on the country. To quote Bill Nelson: "I want somebody to be accountable for this, and if it was a mistake, for somebody to own up to it."
If you really want to find someone to blame, Sen. Nelson, we recommend you go seek out a mirror.