Hagan, Ellmers agree health care roll out has been a mess

Posted on November 25, 2013 

Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers agreed on at least one thing Monday – that the roll out of the Affordable Care Act has been a mess.

Ellmers, a frequent critic of the law, said Hagan shares blame for the problems, while Hagan again pointed the finger at insurance companies for selling policies but not telling their customers that the policies could be canceled when the new law took effect. Republicans have claimed Hagan was dishonest with North Carolinians about whether they could keep existing plans under the new law.

Hagan and Ellmers attended a meeting of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition at the Marriott City Center in downtown Raleigh and made themselves available to the media. Pressed by reporters, Hagan again wouldn’t say when she knew that existing insurance policies could be canceled or whether she knew before or after her vote for the Affordable Care Act. She was a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, one of two Senate committees that drafted versions of the health care law in 2009.

Hagan said she was frustrated with the roll out and the fact that the HealthCare.gov website isn't working properly. She said people should be able to keep their existing plans and has signed onto legislation that would allow that. The first-term senator up for re-election in 2014 also said she believed her Republican opponents want to go back to a time when insurance companies could deny insurance to those with pre-existing conditions. “People do not want to go back to that period,” she said.

Ellmers, who reprsents the 2nd District, said she believes Hagan is trying to fix the problems, but added: “I don't know how much her voice is being heard.” Before it was approved, Ellmers said, some of Hagan’s constituents asked her not to support the law. “And she made a decision,” Ellmers said. "You know, consequences have to come with those decisions."

Meanwhile, Hagan said she felt “confident” about her re-election bid and that she has a “great team together and a great strategy.” On the heels of a recent visit to Chapel Hill from Vice President Joe Biden, Hagan indicated that President Barack Obama also would campaign on her behalf. “We certainly look forward to other individuals coming into North Carolina, including the president,” she said.

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