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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today offered an amendment to the Senate Fiscal Year 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill that would defund provisions in Obamacare if the health care exchanges put in place by the president’s health care law are not ready to enroll qualified Americans by the October deadline. The amendment is similar to the Exchange Sunset Act of 2013, legislation recently introduced by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and cosponsored by Coats.
“The Obama administration has repeatedly demonstrated that it isn’t prepared to implement its massive health care law, and as a result, Hoosiers are left with even more uncertainty about their future,” said Coats. “If the administration continues to miss its own deadlines in setting up these exchanges, why should the American people be taxed and penalized for not complying with the mandate to acquire health insurance? The president and Congress should start over and work to reform our health care system with step-by-step, market-based solutions that will drive down costs for Hoosiers and increase access to quality care.”
The Coats amendment would prohibit funding for the health care exchanges and individual mandate provisions should the exchanges not be operational by the required October 1, 2013 administration deadline. A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggested the administration has not been consistently on schedule in setting up the exchanges, and “the timely and smooth implementation of the exchanges by October 2013 cannot yet be determined.”
“I am disappointed Senate Democrats blocked my amendment despite knowing that the administration is not prepared to implement Obamacare and meet its promises to the American people,” added Coats. “Obamacare is one of the most drastic changes in domestic policy reshaping one-sixth of our economy and impacting the lives of every American. The messy and uncertain implementation of this law coupled with its burdensome taxes and regulations is already delivering a serious blow to American families and job creators.”
The Coats amendment was cosponsored by Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). The amendment failed 14-16 in a vote along party lines.
In addition, Coats supported the following amendments in the full committee markup:
· Employer Mandate Delay: This amendment would prohibit any funding that would implement or enforce the employer mandate in the health care law. The amendment failed along party lines.
· Individual Mandate Delay: This amendment would prohibit any funding that would implement or enforce the individual mandate in the health care law. The amendment failed along party lines.
· Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) Repeal: This amendment prohibits any funds to be used to implement the Independent Payment Advisory Board under the health care law.
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