Press-Republican

Politics and Elections

December 15, 2013

Owens stands behind Obamacare

PLATTSBURGH — North Country Congressman Bill Owens says the president definitely has made some mistakes regarding the Affordable Care Act, but the law is still worth salvaging.

Many Americans have voiced their frustration in recent weeks over the new health-insurance system, commonly known as Obamacare.

Unworkable websites, accusations of lies from the White House about whether people would lose their health insurance and battles in Congress over whether the legislation should be repealed have dominated conversations.

Owens (D-Plattsburgh) has been in the midst of much of that discourse as his vote on the plan in early 2010 was seen as instrumental in passing the bill.

The Press-Republican sat down with the congressman recently for an in-depth discussion about Obamacare and how it is all unfolding.

What is your view on how the Affordable Care Act has been handled so far?

Owens: “Clearly, from my perspective, they (the Obama administration) did an absolutely horrible job of implementation. It was not managed well. They didn’t have the right people doing the job.

“They seemed to have gotten it corrected. I understand the first three days of December more people enrolled than had enrolled in the prior 60 days. I saw some reports today from some insurance companies saying that there clearly has been a significant uptick in enrollment.

“Assuming that pattern continues, they should come close to their goals for enrollment.”

There is still a lot of work to do, isn’t there, having to enroll 7 million people by next April 1?

Owens: “There is, but if they are accurate about what they are saying about the website, it can process 50,000 people a day, and that’s 350,000 a week, and if you do that for 10 to 12 weeks, that puts you in the 4 to 5 million range — if it works.

“Again, they simply did a terrible job of implementation.”

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