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Smith hears complaints over healthcare bill
August 22, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith discusses the effects of the Affordable Care Act with constituents during a town hall meeting in Scottsbluff.

Frustration was evident last week when about 50 people gathered at the Chamber of Commerce when Rep. Adrian Smith asked to hear comments about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“The more government gets involved the more expensive healthcare becomes,” Smith told the group. “Even strong advocates of Obamacare now admit it needs fixing. We’ve yet to see legislation that accomplishes that.”

He added a big concern is that more and more providers are beginning to not accept new Medicare payments because of the legislation. While the practice isn’t widespread in Nebraska, it soon will be.
Pam Wheldon, a self-employed businesswoman from Minatare, also self-insures. She expressed her anxiety after her insurer, Humana, notified her they were pulling out of Nebraska at the end of the year because of the ACA.

“I thought the president said if you like your insurance; you can keep your insurance,” she said. “Everyone who has an individual major medical plan through Humana is losing their insurance as of Dec. 31. I’m being forced into the federal medical exchanges, but when I called the state, they had no idea what the specifics would be. My level of flat out anger keeps increasing because no one knows what’s available. It’s just a nightmare.”

Another constituent asked when Congress would stop accepting bills that are thousands of pages long when they never read the contents. She said the ACA didn’t need to happen if legislators knew what was in the bill.

“We looked through the entire Obamacare bill, but no one anticipated all the problems it would create,” Smith said. “We’ve been finding out about the law of unintended consequences.”

A number of constituents urged Smith to join his follow Republicans in taking a hard stand to defund ACA. However, Smith was reluctant and said they need to put “all options on the table” before determining the best one.

Smith said he was worried that the Affordable Care Act would be a first step toward single-payer healthcare, where people could only get their healthcare from the government, similar to what is offered in Canada and Great Britain.

“There were many misrepresentations of the bill and what the president promised was never the intention,” he said. “But Sen. Reid recently admitted the plan was to move toward single-payer healthcare.”

He added his goal was to make sure the American people are not harmed until ACA collapses under its own weight.
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