Senator Ron Johnson (WI) today released the text of a letter sent to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. The letter asks the mayor and the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority (HBX) Executive Board to explain its decision to require all residents to purchase health care through exchanges created under Obamacare.
"This decision pushes far beyond any other implementation of the law.
Contrary to promises made by President Obama and reiterated by Secretary Sebelius that the American public can keep their current doctors and insurance plans, this decision denies those in the District that very freedom," said Johnson.
The letter reads in part:
"In promoting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to the American people, President Obama repeatedly promised that, "[u]nder our proposals, if you like your doctor, you keep your doctor. If you like your current insurance, you keep that insurance. Period, end of story." This promise was echoed by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, as recently as September 4, 2012, when she assured the Democratic National Convention that "if you already have insurance you like, you can keep it.
"However, an October decision by the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority (HBX) Executive Board negates those assurances...
"The Executive Board decided to mandate that individuals and small-business owners in the District purchase their health insurance through the Health Benefit Exchange it oversees... Forcing consumers seeking Individual or Small Group health coverage to go through the Exchange runs counter to the President's promises...
"The Executive Board's decision not only tramples on the ability to negotiate an insurance contract, but also eliminates choice by forcing individuals and small businesses to purchase standardized coverage through a monopoly of government-selected and approved health plans. This action will greatly increase costs and significantly reduce competition."
Johnson serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, which has jurisdiction over federal policy and the District.