NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

November 13, 2013

A look at what others are saying

The following are excerpts of editorials from other newspapers across New England:

When House Republicans direct their opposition to Obamacare toward aggressive oversight rather than apocalyptic budget shenanigans, they can do themselves and the country a lot of good.

That was obvious when the House Ways and Means Committee posed some smart, tough questions about HealthCare.gov to Marilyn Tavenner, who, as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is perhaps the person most directly responsible for the fiasco. For the most part, the queries seemed designed to find a path toward more competent management of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Many of them went unanswered, unfortunately, but here are some important questions they should press again:

What happened to President Barack Obama’s promise that Americans would be able to keep their doctors and their insurance plans?

Tavenner failed to even acknowledge the frustration felt by people whose plans are now being canceled, and whose insurers are blaming it on the law. She said the government can’t stop doctors from leaving a given insurer or insurers from changing their plans. In that case, the president had no business making the pledge in the first place.

If HealthCare.gov isn’t fixed by the Nov. 30 target date, what happens to the people whose current plans expire at the end of the year?

The administration has already announced that Americans now will have until the end of March to buy coverage without having to pay a tax penalty. But that doesn’t provide health insurance starting Jan. 1 for the increasing number of citizens whose current plans are being canceled on that date. Tavenner said those people could use the call centers to buy insurance on the exchanges. But with 2 million people already being told they can’t keep their coverage, it’s unclear how many in that group the call centers can handle.

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