Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) says Congress needs to create a full-time, permanent arm of the government that monitors Obamacare and submits detailed quarterly reports to Congress on how the massive healthcare law is being implemented.
Roberts proposed legislation to create a special inspector general that would monitor all aspects of the law, including whether it's leading to more expensive health insurance, whether insurance subsidies are being calculated correctly, how jobs are being affected, and the functionality of the Obamacare website.
Sen. Pat Roberts, (R-Kan.), has proposed the creation of a new government body to oversee the implementation of Obamacare. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
Roberts said an inspector general is needed because so far, the Obama administration has failed to keep Congress informed about how the law is working and how it's changing health coverage for millions of people.
"Until the administration provides us more details to the contrary, we have to assume that more Americans are losing the care they liked, through cancellation notices, than they have enrolled in the exchanges. They are in a box canyon," Roberts said.
"It is now estimated that ObamaCare will cost the Nation nearly $2 trillion and has created higher premiums, higher taxes, less choice, confusion, delays, and problem after problem," he added. "Unfortunately, the President and his allies in the Congress continue to protect this law, despite its toll on our economy, our patients, and our providers."
Major federal agencies already have inspector general offices, which are independent and are authorized to investigate everything that goes on in their host agency. But the various offices are not coordinating with each other on the issue of Obamacare, and Roberts said a single office is needed to examine the law's implementation across all agencies.
"With a $1.8 trillion pricetag, this bill is so far-reaching it is difficult to find a federal agency that doesn't have a hand in this pot," he said. "This bill would give appropriate authority to investigate and to audit any programs or activities related to this law across the many Federal departments, State exchanges, and private contractors."
Roberts reminded senators that he opposed the quick passage of the healthcare law in 2010, and warned that it would be the equivalent of riding into a box canyon.
"Then I put it another way. I said: There are a lot of cactuses out there. We didn't have to sit on every one of them."