ABC News’ Betsy Klein reports:
Less than one week after the 16-day government shutdown ended, House Republicans are still on a crusade against Obamacare, citing the widespread issues with the rollout of the health care law’s website to reiterate that it is not ready for prime time.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., called President Obama’s signature healthcare bill “nothing short of a debacle” and vowed to delay the individual mandate tax.
“In a couple of months, the Obamacare mandate tax is going to kick in, and many Americans are going to have to pay as much as one percent of their income to the federal income if they don’t sign up on Obamacare. So how is that fair?” Cantor said. “We Republicans remain committed to delaying that mandate tax of Obamacare so that finally we can get the answers that so many people are seeking, and we can try and reassure the millions of Americans who are growing in their fear about what this all means for their health care.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, blamed September’s “disappointing” jobs report on the uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
“We’ve got the whole threat of Obamacare continuing to hang over our economy like a wet blanket,” Boehner said, citing problems that he believes extend beyond the website, including the “hundreds of thousands of Americans who are finding out that they’re going to lose their coverage” due to the healthcare plan’s requirements.
Beginning Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation will hold hearings on the healthcare exchange website, www.healthcare.gov, to investigate what went wrong with its rollout, first hearing testimony from the website’s external contractors, followed by a hearing next week in which Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is expected to testify. The administration has not provided a final cost of the website, although some estimates place it between $500 million to $600 million.
When asked whether Republican leadership is worried about losing control of the House following the prolonged shutdown, Boehner dismissed concerns that his majority is in jeopardy.
“As long as we stay focused on the priorities of the American people, I think we’re going to be fine. What are they concerned about? They’re concerned about their jobs. They’re concerned about their income. They’re concerned about their own health insurance and how they’re going to be able to afford it and how they’re going to navigate through this bizarre plan that they now have to deal with,” Boehner said. “We fought the fight. We didn’t win. We lived to fight another day.”