The PJ Tatler

Progressive Caucus Member: 'My State Has Not Gotten One Person Through the Exchange'

A member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who voted for the Upton bill last week to let people keep their health plans railed on MSNBC against the treatment his constituents were receiving under the Obamacare exchanges.

“I voted 46 times against their plans to repeal or undermine,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said of Friday’s vote. “This was the 47th vote. This is essentially mirroring what the president said he was going to do, which is allow people to keep their plans. And, you know, if we had a public plan option like I voted for if we had the House bill that was simpler and took away the anti-trust immunity of the insurance industry, we might not be in this mess.”

“We’re in a mess. My state has not gotten one person — not one through the exchange. Say it will take you three weeks after you file your paper application because they don’t expect the exchange to work. They’re running up against the deadline. They’re getting cancellation notices and they got a deadline to get a new plan. This is a fix for one year,” DeFazio continued. “I’ve said since day one, the Senate bill is pretty crummy. It does get to the objective of healthcare for all Americans. It’s going to need a lot of repair. This is not an elegant repair. In fact, I don’t even, you know, think this will go anywhere but we need something like the Landrieu legislation from the Senate. This keeps legislation live. I think we’re going to have to extend the deadline because you can’t say to people, ‘Oh well, you can’t apply, you can’t get accepted but you got a deadline and we’d cancel your insurance.'”

The congressman brushed off assertions that he was damaging Obamacare’s chances of succeeding with “oh, come on, come on.”

“They can spin it anyway they want. This is essentially — this does what the president did by executive order. You know, it’s a little bit extended from that but it’s pretty much the same thing,” DeFazio said.

“Not one person in Oregon, we’ve got all the Medicaid people categorically qualified. That’s taken care of. None of them went through an individual process. Not one person with an individual application in my state has gotten health insurance since October 1st through an exchange and they’re saying now, ‘Go online. Download it. Do it quick. File a paper application.’ Now, come on.”

DeFazio said the legislative process needs to be kept “alive” to fix Obamacare and “we are going to have to extend the deadline or people are going to go bare on January 1st.”