On the same day that the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Obamacare website glitches, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) shifted back to her dismay with the entire law.
Bachmann published an op-ed for the National Review on Thursday, arguing that Obamacare should be voluntary. In the process, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Caucus went all out with one claim.
"There’s no sugarcoating it: Obamacare is forcing every American to purchase a health-insurance policy they don’t want at a price they can’t afford from a website that doesn’t work," Bachmann wrote.
Bachmann's words are unlikely to apply to "every American." According to a Gallup poll released Wednesday, views of the Affordable Care Act have risen slightly since August, with 45 percent generally approving of the legislation.
On the issue of "unaffordable prices," a September government report showed that there was a wide variation in plan costs, depending on factors including age, geographic location, tobacco use and income. Additionally, the individual responsibility provision does not force every American to purchase insurance. It instead institutes a penalty that works as follows:
According to healthcare.gov, Americans without health insurance by 2014 will either a) pay one precent of their yearly household income, with a maximum penalty standing at the yearly premium for a bronze plan or b) $95 per person in the household ($47.50 per child under age 18), with the maximum penalty being $285 per family. That fee jumps to 2 percent of annual income or $325 per person in 2015, 2.5 percent of annual income or $695 in 2016, with yearly inflation adjustments thereafter.
On the issue of the website glitches, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney hinted Monday that there may be a way around the individual mandate. The health care law includes language allowing the Obama administration broad authority to specify penalty exemptions, which could include hardships such as a broken Healthcare.gov.
"The law makes clear that people who do not have access to affordable care due to a state not expanding Medicaid or other factors will not be penalized," Carney said.
Bachmann has been one of the most vehement opponents to Obamacare. In late September, she went so far as to call the law the "crack cocaine" of government health care dependency. She reiterated that stance in Thursday's National Review op-ed, saying that "the disastrous Healthcare.gov website is actually a symptom of a larger disease known as government-run health care."