Ellmers' false alarm on Obamacare

September 10, 2013 

At best, it’s poor political sportsmanship. At worst, efforts on the part of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee to undermine the Affordable Care Act are deeply harmful. And, yes, count Renee Ellmers of North Carolina’s 2nd District among those committee members still trying to undermine federal health care reform.

Ellmers has continued to bombard “Obamacare” with one ridiculous challenge after another. First she favored repeal, then “defunding,” and now it seems she and other House Republicans on that committee are hoping to hobble the law by keeping people from finding their way through its options and provisions.

There are numerous agencies receiving federal funds to help people enroll in health insurance plans through the health care exchanges created by the ACA. The process is daunting to many, particularly because Republicans in North Carolina have blocked the state from educating the public about the program. That’s why foundations and community groups are helping people “navigate” the health care system that will exist when the Affordable Care Act takes full effect Jan. 1

So what are some Republicans up to? They’re demanding from these groups all sorts of paperwork that they know will gum up the works. With Ellmers in the forefront, they are raising false alarms that explaining the law will result in people’s private medical records falling into the wrong hands or in medical confidences being violated. That’s preposterous, as none of the navigators will need to access personal medical records to explain an individual’s options

What part of “it’s the law” do Republicans such as Ellmers not understand? The Affordable Care Act has passed muster with the constitutional authority that has the last say: the U.S. Supreme Court. Period.

Lawmakers should be about the business of letting the public know what the law is instead of trying to block the information their constituents will need to benefit from it.

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