By Peter Roskam
In a recent victory lap, President Barack Obama announced that more than 8 million Americans have signed up for Obamacare and so in his view, "the repeal debate is and should be over. The Affordable Care Act is working." But there are significant problems with the president's assertions.
The American people remain deeply unhappy about a law that has increased out-of-pocket health care costs for millions and taken away their choices. A recent Congressional investigation revealed that only 67 percent of individuals and families that selected a health care plan from the federal marketplace have paid their first month's premium -- laying waste to the 8 million figure the administration has been touting.
The actual enrollment numbers have been closely hidden by the administration for months, and were only obtained through inquiries directly to insurance companies, underscoring what has been a constant challenge for anyone trying to monitor the health care law's progress: because the president's legacy is so tied to the success of Obamacare, the administration is hiding information, dissembling facts and changing the rules as they go, all in service of their own political needs. To get to the truth about the law and its implementation, I recently introduced legislation to create a Special Inspector General for Monitoring the Affordable Care Act, or SIGMA. An independent, nonpartisan Special Inspector General will offer Americans the complete picture of Obamacare, including what decisions are being made, how the law is performing and how it will impact American families. It will also shine light on the administration's repeated unilateral changes, missed deadlines and poor decision making that is resulting in so much confusion, difficulty and unexpected costs for families and small businesses.
Currently, no single oversight official has the power to get all the information about a law that is unprecedented in both size and scope. At over 900 pages, with thousands more pages of regulations, the massive health care law will impact one-sixth of our economy, and affect every American's personal health care choices. SIGMA will have the authority to examine the entirety of the law, obtaining information from every one of the nine agencies and hundreds of new programs that play a role in Obamacare's implementation. Through required quarterly reports and audits, SIGMA will report on every facet of Obamacare, offering a regular flow of information to the public and limiting the administration's ability to conceal and distort the true impacts of Obamacare.