Marsha Blackburn

House committee grills Sebelius on Obamacare implementation, website problems

Kathleen Sebelius

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee got their chance to ask embattled Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the disastrous rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange website, Healthcare.gov, and other issues that have arisen in recent days with the law.

“The Energy and Commerce Committee welcomes the President’s point person on healthcare, Secretary Sebelius, as part of our continuing oversight of the healthcare law and we look forward to a thoughtful conversation on a number of issues, including transparency and fairness,” said Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) in his prepared opening remarks.

Don’t Settle for One-Year Individual Mandate Delay

Let’s get one thing straight: Any compromise on the CR that fails to block the ObamaCare exchange subsidies is unacceptable.

On Saturday afternoon, Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leadership issued a joint statement indicating their intent to vote on two amendments to the Senate CR that was denuded of its key provisions to defund ObamaCare:

“The first amendment delays the president’s health care law by one year. And the second permanently repeals ObamaCare’s medical device tax that is sending jobs overseas.”

Early Sunday, the House Republicans followed through on the plan. The key amendment is the first one referred to above, which delays most of ObamaCare’s core 2014 provisions, including the exchange subsidies and individual mandate, for one year.

The amendment is the product of Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).  You can read the full text of the Blackburn Amendment on cspan.com, and you can view her floor speech offering the amendment on YouTube.

AFP ad features former Obamacare supporter who lost health plan

 Emilie's story

An ad rolled out last week by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) features the powerful, heartbreaking story of Emilie Lamb, a lupus patient who lost her insurance coverage and is now facing higher healthcare costs because of Obamacare.

“I voted for Barack Obama for president. I thought that Obamacare was going to be a good thing,” says Lamb in what AFP describes as a major national TV ad effort. “Instead of helping me, Obamacare has made my life almost impossible.”

Lamb, a Tennessee resident, was a guest of Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) at Tuesday’s State of the Union address. She purchased her health plan through CoverTN, which was sponsored by the state’s TennCare program.

Lamb’s plan was canceled because it had a $25,000 yearly cap on benefits, according to a September report on CoverTN from The Tennessean. This type of health plan is one of many that have been made illegal by Obamacare.

“Barack Obama told us we could keep our health insurance if we liked it, and we can’t. I got a letter in the mail saying my health insurance was over. That it was gone,” she notes. ”It was canceled because of Obamacare.”

“My premiums went from $52 a month to $373 a month. I’m having to work a second job to pay for Obamacare. For somebody with lupus, that’s not an easy thing. If I can’t afford to continue to pay for Obamacare, I don’t get my medicine. I don’t get to see my doctors,” she adds.

Tennessee Reps propose regulatory relief for Gibson

Remember the Gibson Guitar raid, a prime example of how absurd regulations and harrassment by government are hurting businesses? Members of the Tennessee delegation are working to ensure that the portions of the Lacey Act that lead to the raid are amended to avoid this problem in the future:

Members of the House from Tennessee introduced legislation on Thursday aimed at easing a controversial ban on the use of illegally traded wood for musicians and music retailers, several weeks after the federal government raided Gibson Guitar over allegations the company was violating that ban.

The bill, from Reps. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), would make several changes to the Lacey Act aimed at mitigating the penalties imposed on violators. But while the bill is a reaction to the raids on Gibson’s facilities in Memphis and Nashville — two cities with storied music histories — the lawmakers stressed that it would not affect any ongoing cases under Lacey.

The bill, H.R. 3210, is titled the Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Fairness (RELIEF) Act.

“In theory, anybody who travels outside the country or even across the state line with an old guitar right now would be in legal jeopardy,” Cooper said. “The RELIEF Act protects guitar pickers and small businesses, and it treats them fairly.”

Blackburn added that the bill fits in with the Republican effort to ease federal regulations, which the GOP says is hurting U.S. job creation.

Liberty Links: Morning Reads for Thursday, January 6th

Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.


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