Friday, February 6, 2015

Finding Solutions After CoOportunity's Failure

President Obama’s health care law is failing. The abrupt collapse of CoOportunity Health exemplifies Obamacare’s unsustainable cycle of spending and mandates, and has left tens of thousands of Nebraskans once again searching for insurance with even fewer options.

CoOportunity Health is one of 23 Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Programs (CO-OPs) created through Obamacare. Though CoOportunity received $146 million in federal loans, those funds were not enough to sustain this Obamacare-created program for more than one year. In December, it was seized by the Iowa state insurance commissioner and now faces liquidation.

I am extremely concerned for Nebraskans needing health coverage and for the taxpayers who have seen millions of dollars lost and millions more put at risk. Last month, I sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell asking about options available to those impacted by CoOportunity’s failure and how further risks to taxpayers can be avoided. I await a response to my inquiry and hope to get answers for those who need them.

While people across the country suffer rising health care costs, tax hikes and coverage losses, President Obama and his allies have consistently resisted making any changes to the law to reduce these burdens. Soon after the 114th Congress convened in January, I joined 73 of my colleagues asking House Leadership for an early vote to fully repeal Obamacare. This week, I was pleased to vote with a House majority in support of H.R. 596 to repeal this harmful law.

This vote, though important, does not fix the damage. We must replace the President’s failed legislation with consumer-based solutions which reduce costs and empower patients to make their own health care choices. The Chairmen of three major House committees have founded a working group to pursue patient-centered health care solutions to replace Obamacare. I look forward to supporting these efforts through my role on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.

Ensuring rural Nebraskans have access to quality, affordable care remains among my top priorities. On Wednesday, I was honored to meet with Nebraska health care professionals and receive the National Rural Health Association’s (NRHA) Congressional Champion award in recognition of my leadership on rural health care issues, including the bills I have introduced to address arbitrary regulations threatening many providers.

As we seek answers in the wake of CoOportunity Health’s failure, it is clear Nebraskans deserve better options for care and taxpayers deserve better accountability for their tax dollars. I will keep working in Nebraska and Washington, D.C., to create more market-based, patient-friendly solutions for our health care system.

About the Author:

Congressman Adrian Smith from Nebraska serves on the Committee on Ways and Means. Congressional Rural Caucus (Chair), Congressional Rural Veterans Caucus (Chair), Modern Agriculture Caucus (Chair), Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, Congressional Western Caucus and Congressional General Aviation Caucus.

Smith has been noted for his consistent voting against tax increases, massive government bailouts, and in his opposition of the affordable healthcare act (aka ObamaCare) which is creating massive uncertainty for our nation's job creators. Smith, a co-sponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment and a supporter of a Congressional earmark moratorium, has earned a reputation as a solid conservative through his votes to protect the rights of gun owners, efforts to limit the scope of government, and his strong pro-life voting record.

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