It's been over a year since the Supreme Court ruled that the individual health insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act was in line with the U.S. Constitution, falling within Congress' power to tax under the Commerce Clause. And yet, go to the website of Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp, and you'll find just the opposite:
"Beyond the implications, the law has been deemed unconstitutional for its mandates requiring individuals to purchase health insurance."
Now, hours after the gates opened for Americans to begin purchasing health insurance via online exchanges, the Kansas lawmaker admitted that “it must be an error." He said the message on his website may be confused with a House-passed resolution, rejected by the Senate, to delay the individual mandate.
“That doesn’t mean it’s a good law,” he maintained, conceding that it was in fact ruled constitutional. “And as of last night, as of this morning, the healthcare exchanges are not up and running, they're not available for businesses, and they're not working well.”
Kansas is one of 34 states that left the health-insurance marketplaces all or partially up to the federal government to run. President Obama and other advocates for reform braced for glitches on opening day, and Kansas consumers have reportedly already experienced them.
On Monday, the Kansas Insurance Commissioner urged the public to wait until bugs could be worked out before signing up on the federally-facilitated marketplace. But Huelskamp, who attempted to sign onto the exchange at midnight, faced a number of challenges, and declared the whole of Obamacare “not ready for prime time,” in a statement.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 358,000 Kansans have no health insurance.
Update at 2:15 pm: The error has been removed from Huelskamp's website since this interview aired.