Assemblyman Scott Wilk
Looking to allay concerns about the new law, Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced “Covering Health Care: A California Resource Guide,” an online guide for Californians looking for information about the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act has prompted congressional debate, anticipation and apprehension for three years now, but the reality is, the enrollment period is finally under way for California’s new health care exchange, Wilk said.
“The new changes to the health care system are very complicated,” Wilk said. “I want to provide residents with the tools necessary to help them make the best choice when deciding which health plans suit their needs.
“We’re into Day 2 of the open enrollment, and I was talking with some constituents this morning and they were not able to access (the online exchange) this morning,” Wilk said.
While House Republicans recently initiated an effort to defund that act, seeking at the very least delay the enactment of the ACA, or Obamacare, by a year,Wilk was meeting with area residents and fielding concerns.
“My thoughts are, that the Affordable Care Act passed through the Congress, was signed by the president and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court and ratified by the voters when they kept the Democrats in power,” Wilk said. “I don’t know what delaying it really does now.”
The site, launched by the California Assembly’s Republican Caucus, was meant to help those looking for information about the new law, he said.
Wilk said he expects some bumps and bruises with any new system this size, he said, especially in a state as large as California, where so many could be affected by the new law.
“There’s a projected 5.3 million Californians that could potentially access coverage through the exchange, so I expect some glitches along the way,” Wilk said. “And to be fair to the agency, as late as seven weeks ago, the Assembly was making changes (to California’s health care exchange).
“At some point, we need to stop and let it roll out and then make tweaks at a later date when appropriate,” Wilk said.
In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama, vastly restructuring of the nation’s health insurance system.
The Affordable Care Act mandates that individuals purchase insurance, includes tax penalties on individuals and large businesses who do not comply with the law, and expands taxpayer-funded health care, according to a statement on the “Covering Health Care” website.
The law is expected to add more than $1 trillion to the national debt in the last 10 years, the website states.
Over the course of two years, a number of states challenged provisions of the Affordable Care Act through the courts, culminating in a June 2012 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the law, setting in motion the law’s implementation at the state and federal level.