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Alexander: Sebelius ‘Always Welcome’ in TN, Time ‘Better Spent’ Fixing Exchanges Though

Press release from U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander; October 31, 2013:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius’s planned visit to Memphis tomorrow:

“The secretary is always welcome in Tennessee, but her time would be better spent in Washington fixing the Obamacare website so that millions of Americans won’t find themselves without health insurance starting January 1st. But while she’s in Memphis, I hope she’s able to meet with some of the thousands of Tennesseans who are being informed that they won’t be able to keep the health insurance the president promised they’d be able to keep.”

On Monday, Alexander called on President Obama to ask Sebelius to resign, saying, “Expecting this secretary to be able to fix in a few weeks what she has not been able to fix during the last three and one half years is unrealistic. It is throwing good money after bad … No private sector chief executive officer would escape accountability after such a poor performance.”

Last week, Alexander introduced legislation that would require the administration to provide weekly reports on the Obamacare exchanges, saying, “Before the Internet, RCA knew how many records Elvis was selling every day. Before the Internet, Ford knew how many cars they were selling every day. Before the Internet, McDonald’s could tell you how many hamburgers it had sold each day. Yet the Obama administration cannot tell us how many Americans have tried to sign up for Obamacare.” Senate Democrats on Tuesday rejected his request to unanimously pass the legislation.

And today, Alexander announced his support of a subpoena issued by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) for Obamacare exchange documents requested by Alexander and Issa.

Carr Claims Credit for Alexander’s Reversal on Sebelius Resignation

Press release from the Joe Carr Campaign for U.S. Senate; October 29, 2013:

Under fire from Conservative Joe Carr, Lamar flip-flops on Sebelius

Nashville, TN –Just one day after Conservative Senate candidate Joe Carr criticized Senator Alexander for his refusal to call for Secretary Sebelius’s dismissal, Senator Alexander dramatically reversed his position.

“I’m glad that Senator Alexander has reversed his position and now admits I was right. But its unfortunate he only did the right thing after political pressure. Unlike Senator Alexander, I’ll fight for our conservatives principles from day one.”

Last week, Senator Alexander gave an interview to Fox News in which he was asked if Sebelius should be fired. Alexander responded: “Well, that’s up to the President. I think he should make that decision.”

On Monday, Carr released the following statement:

“ObamaCare is a disaster and the implementation is even worse. It’s time for Kathleen Sebelius to be held accountable for the debacle she helped create. Senator Alexander’s refusal to call for her ouster is further proof he is well to the left of the conservative mainstream,” said Carr.

Today, Lamar reversed his position.

Alexander Calls for HHS Secretary’s Resignation

Press release from the Office of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander; October 29, 2013:

Says “no private sector CEO would escape accountability after such a poor performance”

***

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 – The senior Republican on the Senate health committee today (Video HERE) called for President Obama to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “Expecting this secretary to be able to fix in a few weeks what she has not been able to fix during the last three and one half years is unrealistic. It is throwing good money after bad.”

Alexander pointed to at least 1.5 million Americans who are losing health care coverage starting on January 1 because their policies are not legal under Obamacare.

“If the exchange is not working, they will not be able to choose another policy through that exchange. At some point there has to be accountability,” Alexander said. “Taxpayers have spent $400 million to create exchanges that, after three and one half years, still don’t work.”

He continued: “No private sector chief executive officer would escape accountability after such a poor performance. And the principle of accountability is not foreign to the public sector. Admiral Hyman Rickover, father of the nuclear navy, told his submarine captains that they were not only accountable for their ships, but they were also accountable for the nuclear reactor on their ships. If anything went wrong with the reactor, their career in the Navy was over, the Admiral said. As a result of that dose of accountability, since the 1950’s there never has been a death as a result of a problem with a naval submarine reactor.”

“Americans deserve that kind of accountability in the implementation of the new health care law,” he said.

Alexander added: “Instead, the Secretary appears not even to have told the President about known problems with the Obamacare website in the months and days leading up to the launch. Despite repeated requests, she has refused to tell Congress or the public the reasons the Obamacare website continues to fail while insisting on more time and an undisclosed amount of money to fix it.”

“It is time for the President to ask the Secretary of Health and Human Services to resign.”

Alexander to Propose Bill Requiring Weekly ACA Exchange Reports

Press release from the office of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn; October 22, 2013:

Bill would require administration to reveal data on exchange enrollment and website problems to public, Congress, and states

***

KNOXVILLE, Oct. 22 – The senior Republican on the Senate health committee today announced on a Knoxville radio show that he will introduce a bill requiring the administration to provide weekly reports to Congress and to states with data about Obamacare enrollment, efforts to resolve the site’s technological problems, and information about organizations contracted as navigators.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said of his legislation: “As millions of Americans have sat frustrated at their computers and on their phones, wasting hours trying to fulfill the Obamacare mandate and enroll in the exchanges, the administration has refused to provide critical information about what’s going wrong, or has dribbled out news through anonymous statements to reporters. This bill will require the administration to be honest and transparent with the public, governors overseeing state exchanges, state consumer protection regulators, and decisionmakers in Congress. No more hiding the damage of the train wreck—Americans are on this train.”

The bill would require the Obama administration to provide weekly reports to Congress, states, and the public about the 36 federally run exchanges, including easily tracked data such as the number of individuals who have visited the site and the number who have successfully enrolled, their zip code, and the level of coverage they’ve obtained. The reports would also be required to contain information on the department’s efforts to resolve the site’s widespread technical problems.

Recent analysis by an outside firm found that traffic to the HealthCare.gov website fell 88 percent between Oct.1 and Oct. 13, as users were scared off by problems with the site, the Washington Post reported. Less than half of 1 percent of Americans who tried to use the site in the first week were able to successfully enroll, according to the Post.

Yet, as technological problems with the site prevent Americans from being able to satisfy the Obamacare individual mandate and purchase insurance, the administration has provided little to no information about the cause of the site’s problems and its efforts to resolve them, and has provided no information about who has successfully enrolled.

Senator Alexander recently called on the Obama administration to improve the way it provides information to Americans about Obamacare, saying, “This law is about as clear as mud, and instead of helping Americans understand their new obligations, the Obama administration has been burying important changes—not announcing them boldly as you’d expect an administration that’s proud of its new health care law to do. Americans deserve better from the officials who are so committed to implementing this train wreck of a law.”

He noted the requirement that Americans sign up for health insurance by mid-February to avoid the tax penalty was confirmed by an anonymous administration official to an AP reporter on October 9 and the revelation that problems with the federal exchange website were also due to a design failure that needed to be fixed was made to a Wall Street Journal reporter on Sunday, after the administration repeatedly told Americans that the problems were due to volume.

Alexander announced his legislation on the Knoxville area’s Hallerin Hilton Hill Morning Show.

Alexander: Obama Responsible for ACA Exchange ‘Mess’

Press release from the office of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander; October 21, 2013:

Says president’s speeches “worked during the campaign,” but Americans today are “no closer to understanding what has gone wrong”

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 – The senior Republican on the Senate health committee today released the following statement about the president’s speech on Healthcare.gov:

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “The president is right—this law is more than a website that won’t work—it’s a Washington mandate that many Americans are finding impossible, and it’s an historic mistake that is raising premiums, forcing employees off insurance plans, increasing out-of-pocket costs, and pushing employers to cut jobs and hours. His speeches worked during the campaign, but today Americans are still no closer to understanding what has gone wrong with this website, or how it will be fixed, or whether it will be fixed in time for them to comply with the mandate.”

He added: “Somebody must be accountable for this mess, and if the president isn’t going to resign, it’s up to him to figure out who should.”

Alexander Wants HHS Secretary Sebelius to Explain ‘Technical Problems’ with Obamacare Exchanges

Press release from the Office of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander; October 10, 2013:

Senate, House committee leaders ask Secretary Sebelius to explain the technical failures, administration plans to fix them, and whether the administration went live knowing there were problems with the site
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“We are concerned by recent comments to the media that the system suffers from architectural problems that need design changes. We seek information about these problems as well as whether you still expect individuals to suffer a tax penalty if they do not purchase government-approved health insurance.” – Letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 – The senior Republican on the Senate health committee and the Chairman of the House oversight committee today called on the Obama administration to provide details on the technical problems that have prevented many Americans from enrolling in the federal government’s health insurance exchange, and to explain whether individuals will still suffer tax penalties for not purchasing insurance.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius requesting information “to help us evaluate the extent of the problems with ObamaCare’s rollout and for us to better determine whether any corrective legislative actions are necessary.”

Alexander and Issa write: “HHS launched healthcare.gov on October 1, 2013, as required by law. From day one, however, healthcare.gov has been plagued by what Administration officials initially referred to as technical glitches. After six days the Administration finally admitted the glitches were ‘design and software problems that have kept customers from applying online for coverage.’ News reports detailed stories of people waiting as long as 36 hours to enroll for insurance, many waiting for hours only to give up. As many as 99 of every 100 applications are not able to be processed, and experts are concerned that ‘federal officials could face a situation in January in which relatively large numbers of people believe they have coverage starting that month, but whose enrollment applications have not been processed.’

They continue: “Among the many problems that have been identified in the media: many tens of thousands of people have started the application process but been unable to create accounts; the system that determines whether people are eligible for federal subsidies or Medicaid has made inaccurate determinations; the exchange will not be able to communicate with state Medicaid agencies until November; drop down tools and identity checking systems have not properly functioned; the website bottlenecks at the account creation stage; insurers are receiving incomplete or corrupted applications; and insufficient capacity has been allocated for the website. The website was shut down for periods on October 5th, October 6th, and on October 8th in order for HHS to attempt to make changes.

Alexander and Issa ask for information including how many people have successfully enrolled in the exchange; details on all technical problems preventing enrollment and the anticipated cost of fixing those problems; whether HHS decided to go live with healthcare.gov knowing there were problems with transmitting data to insurers; and whether individuals who attempted to enroll in insurance through the federal exchange but who were ultimately unsuccessful due to the system’s failures still face a tax penalty if they do not enroll for 2014.

“According to some reports,” they write, “the Administration was repeatedly warned that the federal exchange had significant problems. Insurers complained that during tests of the exchange there were difficulties with transmissions to insurers, with insurers not receiving all necessary data about individuals enrolling in plans during tests. Did HHS go live with healthcare.gov knowing there were problems with transmitting data to insurers? If those problems were resolved during testing, how were they resolved?”

The text of the letter is below:

October 10, 2013

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
330 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

We are writing to seek information about the federal health insurance exchanges established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). We are concerned by recent comments to the media that the system suffers from architectural problems that need design changes. We seek information about these problems as well as whether you still expect individuals to suffer a tax penalty if they do not purchase government-approved health insurance.

ObamaCare requires millions of individuals to enroll in government-mandated insurance or else face a tax penalty. The law required an online exchange be available by October 1, 2013, for individuals to compare plans and rates. For the 36 states that are not operating their own exchange websites, HHS established healthcare.gov for individuals to shop for insurance that would meet the law’s mandated insurance coverage requirements. A Government Accountability Office report from June detailed that HHS spent almost $394 million over three years in contracts to establish the exchange and its related functions.[1]

Two top HHS officials, Marilyn Tavenner, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Gary Cohen, the Director for the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, provided testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform within the past few months suggesting that HHS would be ready for implementation on October 1, 2013. On July 17, 2013, Ms. Tavenner testified that she was “feeling pretty comfortable about the ability [of CMS] to be ready on October 1st.”[2] She further stated that “I want to assure you that [on] October 1, 2013, the health insurance marketplace will be open for business. Consumers will be able to log onto healthcare.gov, fill out an application and find out what coverage and benefits they qualify for.”[3] At a hearing on May 21, 2013, Mr. Cohen testified “I think we are very much on schedule; we are moving forward. We are going to be ready October 1st for open enrollment to begin.”[4] Mr. Cohen also testified that there would not be “any problems with [the] massive amount of data sharing.”[5]

HHS launched healthcare.gov on October 1, 2013, as required by law. From day one, however, healthcare.gov has been plagued by what Administration officials initially referred to as technical glitches. After six days the Administration finally admitted the glitches were “design and software problems that have kept customers from applying online for coverage.”[6] News reports detailed stories of people waiting as long as 36 hours to enroll for insurance, many waiting for hours only to give up.[7] As many as 99 of every 100 applications are not able to be processed, and experts are concerned that “federal officials could face a situation in January in which relatively large numbers of people believe they have coverage starting that month, but whose enrollment applications have not been processed.” [8]

Among the many problems that have been identified in the media: many tens of thousands of people have started the application process but been unable to create accounts;[9] the system that determines whether people are eligible for federal subsidies or Medicaid has made inaccurate determinations;[10] the exchange will not be able to communicate with state Medicaid agencies until November;[11] drop down tools and identity checking systems have not properly functioned;[12] the website bottlenecks at the account creation stage;[13] insurers are receiving incomplete or corrupted applications;[14] and insufficient capacity has been allocated for the website.[15] The website was shut down for periods on October 5th, October 6th, and on October 8th in order for HHS to attempt to make changes.

To help us evaluate the extent of the problems with ObamaCare’s rollout and for us to better determine whether any corrective legislative actions are necessary, please provide the Committees with the following information by October 24, 2013:

  • As of October 9, 2013, at midnight, how many people had successfully enrolled for insurance through the federal exchange? How many people attempted to submit applications?
  • Please describe, in detail, all technical problems (including software and design defects) that are preventing people from successfully creating accounts, applying for insurance, and enrolling in plans. Please describe in detail the administration’s plans to address those problems and what has already been done to fix them. Please include which contractors were involved in the design and operation of those aspects of the exchange and which contractors are involved in correcting the problems.
  • How much has it already cost and will it cost to address the technical problems with the exchange? Does HHS need additional appropriations to solve the technical problems and if not, how will HHS pay for the changes? Please list specific appropriations accounts used.
  • According to several news reports,[16] the system that determines when people are eligible for subsidies to buy insurance or Medicaid appears to be malfunctioning, and thus many people may not be eligible for plans in which they are enrolled. What is your timeline for determining when people may have received inaccurate information about eligibility and for notifying affected individuals? How will individuals be notified?
  • According to a USA Todayinterview with HHS’s Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, the Administration has said it hopes as many as 7 million people will eventually sign up for health insurance through the federal exchange. Yet, the administration only designed healthcare.gov to handle 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users.
    1. Why did the Administration build the site to accommodate so few people at a time when it expected many more to apply for insurance?
    2. How much load testing of the exchange was done? What is the maximum number of simultaneous users the exchange was tested to accommodate?
  • According to some reports,[17]the Administration was repeatedly warned that the federal exchange had significant problems. Insurers complained that during tests of the exchange there were difficulties with transmissions to insurers, with insurers not receiving all necessary data about individuals enrolling in plans during tests.
    1. Did HHS go live with healthcare.gov knowing there were problems with transmitting data to insurers?
    2. If those problems were resolved during testing, how were they resolved?
  • For the first five days of open enrollment, the administration insisted enrollment problems were a matter of unexpected volume. In an on the record interview with USA Today published October 6, Todd Park said “These bugs were functions of volume[.] Take away the volume and it works.” On the same day, the Administration admitted to The Wall Street Journalthat capacity was not the only problem, but the exchange suffered from design problems as well.
    1. When did HHS first learn of the design and software problems with the exchange?
    2. Please provide all documents, including emails, referring or relating to the design, software, and capacity problems with the exchange.
  • Will individuals who attempted to enroll in insurance through the federal exchange but who ultimately were unsuccessful due to the system’s failures still face a tax penalty if they do not enroll for 2014? What about individuals who believe they successfully enrolled but later find out they were ineligible?
  • Please provide all documents referring or relating to the testing of the exchange and the federal data hub, including but not limited to contractual terms, reports or other data that were submitted by contractors, internal testing, internal emails, memos, power point presentations, and any communications from third parties such as insurers or other stakeholders on the performance of the exchange.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee of the House of Representatives and may at “any time” investigate “any matter” as set forth in House Rule X. An attachment to this letter provides additional information about responding to the Committee’s request.

In preparing your answers to these questions, please answer each question individually and include the text of each question in your response. When producing documents to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, please deliver production sets to the Majority Staff in Room 2157 of the Rayburn House Office Building and the Minority Staff in Room 2471 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The Committee prefers to receive documents in electronic format.

If you have any questions about this request, please have your staff contact Stacy Cline of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Staff or Brian Blase of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Staff. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Sen. Lamar Alexander                        Rep. Darrell Issa

Ranking Member                                 Chairman

Senate Health, Education,                   House Committee on Oversight

Labor and Pensions Committee          and Government Reform

 

Enclosure

cc: The Honorable Tom Harkin, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

The Honorable Elijah Cummings, Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

——————————————————–

[1] John E. Dicken, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Status of CMS Efforts to Establish Federally Facilitated Health Insurance Exchanges, GAO Report to Congressional Requesters (June 2013).

[2] Evaluating Privacy, Security, and Fraud Concerns with ObamaCare’s Information Sharing Apparatus, Joint Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcomm. on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements, and H. Comm. On Homeland Security Sucbomm. on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, 113th Cong. 20-21 (2013)

[3] Id.

[4] Examining The Concerns About the ObamaCare Outreach Campaign, Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcomm. on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements, and Subcomm. on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs, 113th Cong. 20-21 (2013)

[5] Id.

[6] Christopher Weaver, et al., Software, Design Defects Cripple Health-Care Website, Wall St. J. (Oct. 6, 2013).

[7] Sarah Kliff, For Some Shoppers, Buying Obamacare is Turning Into a Marathon, Wash. Post Wonkblog (Oct. 4, 2013).

[8] Dan Mangan, 99% of Obamacare Applications Hit a Wall, CNBC (Oct. 4, 2013).

[9] Supra note 6.

[10] Id.

[11] Phil Galewitz, Federal Insurance Marketplace Can’t Yet ‘Talk’ to State Medicaid Agencies, Wash. Post (Oct. 4, 2013).

[12] Supra note 6.

[13] Michael D. Shear, et al., Health Exchange Delays Tied to Software Crash in Early Rush, N.Y. Times (Oct. 7, 2013).

[14] See, e.g., Drew Armstrong, et al., Insurers Getting Faulty Data from U.S. Health Exchanges, Bloomberg (Oct.8, 2013).

[15] Tim Mullaney, Obama Adviser: Demand Overwhelmed HealthCare.gov, USA Today (Oct. 6, 2013).

[16] Supra notes 6 and 11.

[17]See, e.g., Juliet Eilperin, et al., Many Remain Locked Out of Federal Health-Care Web Site, Wash. Post (Oct. 8, 2013).

TN Senate GOP Letter to President: Quit Trying to ‘Intimidate Opponents of Obamacare’

Letter from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; October 8, 2013:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write to you to express extreme displeasure in how you are overseeing the budget impasse in Congress known as the “government shutdown.”

Ostensibly, a government shutdown would revolve around saving taxpayer funds. That is not the case in this instance. In fact, your administration seems to be going to great lengths and sparing no expense to sell your particular shutdown narrative.

While the media eagerly accepts this narrative, we in public service know the truth. The IRS is still collecting taxes and the NSA is still compiling metadata. Vital services are still available and essential employees are still getting paid.

There is no government shutdown, merely a slowdown. What’s worse is that public displays of this so-called shutdown appear to be packaged for mass media consumption. Your administration seems to be in the business of selling this “shutdown” as a creation of House Republicans when it is in truth a maneuver by Senate Democrats to save the implementation of your administration’s legislative showpiece.

Witness the barricading of the World War II Memorial in Washington. This is a memorial that, while usually staffed during business hours, is open to the public 24 hours a day. The public “closing” of this memorial and keeping veterans off the grounds by threat of force was a farce. The closing of the D-Day Memorial and 24 other memorials overseas just adds insult to injury.

Tennesseans are well aware of this tactic. Over ten years ago when our state faced a budget crisis, state parks in key legislative districts were closed. This was a last ditch effort by liberals to scare Tennesseans into supporting higher taxes. The Obama administration has similarly shut down federal parks in Tennessee, in some cases blocking roads children need to take to school. This tactic was transparent then and it is transparent now.

Just like the old tax and spenders in Tennessee, the Obama administration hopes to intimidate opponents of Obamacare into capitulating and selling out their constituents – constituents who want the Affordable Care Act repealed and replaced.

Your administration wants us to believe we cannot reduce the budget and we must continue down the path of increasing our debt. Yet the Senate has not passed a budget in over four years and our debt as a percentage of GDP sits at nearly 73%.

We know that the people of Tennessee see through this blatant attempt to manipulate public perception. We hope the rest of the nation sees this “shutdown” not as the folly of Republican intransigence but for what it truly is: a face-saving measure by a President to ram through the implementation of unworkable legislation.

Sincerely,

The Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus

TNDP: HHS Report Shows ‘Obamacare’ Costs Lower than Expected

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; Sept. 26, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As Republicans attempting to defund the Affordable Care Act march the country toward both a government shutdown and also a default on our obligations, the Tennessee Democratic Party touted new data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showing that Obamacare is working and will cost consumers less than anticipated.

“The new report found that health care rates in Tennessee will be affordable, especially with new help available for around half of Americans buying health insurance. The report found that here in Tennessee, a 27-year-old making $25,000 a year will pay $103 per month and a family of four making $50,000 could pay $128,” said Roy Herron, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “The Affordable Care Act can help working families, but Republicans in Washington are trying everything to take affordable health care away, even if it means hurting our economy by shutting down the government and not paying our nation’s bills.”

The report found that in addition to lower premiums, Tennessee consumers will be able to choose from 59 plans and pick the one that works best for their family. These health care plans have no lifetime caps on care, end discrimination against those with preexisting conditions, and bar insurers from charging women more.

In contrast, the U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a bill with the support of Republican Congressmen Phil Roe, Jimmy Duncan, Chuck Fleischmann, Scott DesJarlais, Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn and Stephen Fincher to shut down the government unless Obamacare is defunded and all those hard-fought protections ended.

To view the report with a breakdown of how the Affordable Care Act is helping Tennessee, click here.

Alexander Joins in Effort to Delay “Obamacare” Mandate Implementation

Press release from the Office of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; September 12, 2013:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12—The senior Republican on the U.S. Senate health committee this week joined in introducing a bill and an amendment to delay the health care law’s employer and individual mandates until 2015.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “Full repeal of this law is my goal—no family in Tennessee should ever be forced to comply with the mess and mistakes of Obamacare—but I hope even Democrats will be willing to see that families certainly shouldn’t have to next year when American businesses are getting a break. We need to repeal this law and start passing step-by-step reforms that transform the health care delivery system by putting patients back in charge, giving them more choices, and reducing the cost of health care so that more people can afford it.”

The Fairness for American Families amendment was introduced by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) with Senators Alexander, John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)

Alexander also co-sponsored a bill introduced by Senator Coats earlier this week that would delay the health care law’s employer and individual mandates until 2015.

He is an original cosponsor of legislation introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to fully defund the law.

Alexander voted against the health care bill after warning his colleagues it would be “an historic mistake,” and has since voted on the Senate floor to repeal or defund Obamacare 23 times since it became law, and overall to oppose or repeal Obamacare or its provisions more than 90 times.

Click here for more details on Sen. Alexander’s work to defund, repeal, and replace Obamacare since 2009.

Jacobs Staying Out of Political Ring, Leaves Alexander to Other Challengers

“Kane” won’t try to lay the smackdown on Lamar Alexander in 2014.

Professional Wrestler and Tennessee Liberty Alliance co-founder Glenn Jacobs, who goes by that nom de guerre when he’s slapping opponents around the ring , had earlier this year hinted at the possibility that he’d grapple with Alexander for the 2014 GOP U.S. Senate nomination.

However, Kane acknowledged to TNReport during a Rutherford County Campaign for Liberty event in Murfreesboro earlier this week that he’s decided against joining the fracas with state Rep. Joe Carr, who last week announced he was abandoning his run for the 4th district U.S. House seat in favor of taking on Alexander.

Jacobs isn’t planning to run for elected office any time soon, but he said he intends to become more involved in state and local politics.

And while he himself doesn’t feel up to taking on the challenge, Jacobs still believes Alexander needs to go.

“One thing I think we all can agree on is that Sen. Alexander has some real problems for small-government conservatives and libertarians,” Jacobs said. “Despite the fact that he calls himself a conservative, if you look at his record it’s not conservative. Sen. Alexander recently released a letter to the media, an op-ed in the Tennessean, in which he rebutted a letter that 20 Tea Party and Conservative groups in Tennessee signed.”

“It was interesting to me that Sen. Alexander didn’t talk about his actual job,” Jacobs continued, “which is supporting, defending the U.S. Constitution. Instead he talked about all of the great things that he had done, which were all really big government things. And, of course this is a philosophical question, and some people are going to say, well, those are important things, and they are. But his primary job is to defend and support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That didn’t make it into his letter.”

Jacobs also took a swipe at Tennessee’s other Republican U.S. Senator, Bob Corker, for referring to Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee’s efforts to “defund” Obamacare as “silly.” Corker is cut from a conciliatory cloth similar to Alexander, said Jacobs.

“I’m all for compromise, as long as that compromise moves us towards individual liberty and economic freedom,” said Jacobs. “The problem is now…for almost since the inception of the country, we’ve been compromising in the other way, towards statism, towards less individual freedom and towards controlled markets.”

“If our moderate senators would become more moderate in the direction of liberty, I’d be all for compromise. Unfortunately, they are compromising the other way, and are compromising away our rights and freedoms.”