Senator John Thune
The beginning of October marked an “unhappy anniversary” for millions of Americans across the country. On October 1, 2013, the Obama administration launched the disastrous national health care exchange website, HealthCare.gov. Over one year later, the website not only remains plagued with glitches and technological errors, but also faces a host of security risks and privacy concerns.
Last month, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office issued a report detailing the numerous security vulnerabilities that remain unaddressed with the HealthCare.gov website. Millions of Americans have entrusted their personal information with the federal government through this website, yet one year later, the Obama administration is still failing to ensure that this information is secure. I find this unacceptable, and have called on the administration to conduct comprehensive security testing on HealthCare.gov before the next enrollment period begins – testing which the administration has to date refused to conduct.
The Obama administration’s rollout of HealthCare.gov was symptomatic of everything we already know about ObamaCare, the law is not the solution to our health care problems. It has resulted in higher premiums and higher deductibles for thousands of South Dakota families. And in order to offset the new spending included in the law, ObamaCare increased taxes by more than $1 trillion and cut over $700 billion from Medicare, including sizable cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program. Some of these new taxes hit small business owners, others hit life-saving medical devices, and even more hit middle-class families struggling under the weight of the Obama economy.
The problems with ObamaCare are about to get even worse. Over 12,000 South Dakotans are working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment. Unfortunately, their hopes of finding full-time work will only fade as the employer mandate and the ObamaCare 30-hour work week rules are enforced this coming January. Small businesses will be subject to expensive new tax penalties of up to $3,000 per full-time uninsured worker, which is defined as anyone working 30-hours per week or longer without government-approved health care. Not only will this mandate discourage hiring full-time workers, but it will also ultimately take away financial resources that would normally be invested in main street businesses.The current Senate leadership has stifled debate and votes on bills to repeal the job-destroying mandates and taxes included in ObamaCare. However, when a new Congress convenes in January, I’m hopeful that we will finally get the opportunity to repeal and replace ObamaCare with policies that lower health care costs, increase choice, and allow South Dakotans to keep the plans they like and the doctors they trust.