As I write today, I have several items to alert you to.
On October 1st, the first phase of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act went into effect. The law passed early this year is scheduled to be implemented over the next four years. Already, the first steps of implementation are not going so well.
For many employers, the cost of paying for the expanded plans mandated by the law is so great that they are considering eliminating health care coverage altogether – before the rest of the law goes into effect.
As a result, the New York Times reports that the Obama administration is granting dozens of waivers to big businesses and their insurers. The waivers allow these employers and insurers to continue providing limited-benefit plans that provide far less coverage than is mandated by the new law. A number of states have also asked for power to exempt some insurers, concerned that the law will be disruptive if insurers leave their state or stop offering certain types of coverage.
Yet, these waivers are selective. Not everyone has applied for them and not everyone gets them. The majority passed an economically devastating law and then temporarily waives it for some companies but not others. In effect, the healthcare law that was supposed to improve people’s lives is doing the opposite and the Administration’s way of dealing with these consequences is to selectively and temporarily waive the law.
I do not believe that this is what most people were thinking of when they called for healthcare reform. That is why I have called for repealing the current law and replacing it with meaningful reforms that drive coverage costs down, keep decisions with patients and expand access to health insurance.
Department of State Blocks Import of WWI Rifles
During the Korean War, American-made M1 rifles were sent to Korea to help our allies. Now that they are not of any military use, the South Korean government is ready to send nearly one million of these classic rifles back to the U.S., where they would be sold to law-abiding Americans. Earlier this year, the sale was approved by the U.S. government, but now the Department of State is saying these weapons may not be brought into the country because they “could potentially be exploited… for illicit purposes.”
I joined several of my colleagues in writing to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton–asking her to reverse her decision to block these antique firearms. These classic rifles should be able to be purchased from South Korea, imported to the U.S. and sold to anyone who can legally buy them.
Recovery Road Signs
House Republicans are trying to cut wasteful spending on road signs that announce stimulus projects. The savings on these signs could reach $192 million. If you think these signs waste taxpayer dollars, snap a picture of one and send the picture and location of the sign to Republicans on the House Government and Oversight Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, I hope you will take the time to contact me about these or any other issues of concern.
W. Todd Akin