Gary Lauer, CEO of eHealth Inc. and long-time Obamacare supporter, explained Monday night to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he had “broken” from the health-care law after President Obama claimed that Healthcare.gov — and indeed the whole law — is “fixed.”
Lauer — who recently spoke with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on ways to improve Obamacare — operates eHealthinsurance.com, a private health insurance marketplace in business since 1999. “We’re a private company, publicly traded. We’re just a big exchange,” he said. “Long before the words ‘health insurance’ and ‘exchange’ were in the same sentence, we’ve been doing this. We’re like the Amazon.com of health insurers.”
The executive told O’Reilly that he’d backed Obamacare from the very beginning. “I’ve been a supporter of this bill long before it became legislation,” he said, “and I feel strongly about it. There’s some things I like. I happen to be a cancer survivor, so I’m a beneficiary of this legislation.”
“But I’ve really just broken with this,” he continued, “when I heard the president say that it’s fixed.” He noted that his company’s position between the private and public sector means they’re “right in the middle of it. We see a lot of this.”
“I have been arguing with people in government for years now to include the private sector — let us be a partner, let us help make this thing work,” he claimed. “But today, you still got a lot of ideology, a lot of ideologues who believe the way to make this work is through government and government alone.”
“Yes, the federal government exchange, Healthcare.gov, is probably working somewhat better — although we’re working close to it, it’s got a lot of issues,” he said. “You’ve also got 14 states that have built exchanges. There’s one that works OK — that’s my home state of California — but there are others that are just a mess!”
Lauer noted that Sebelius did give a slight “waiver” to his company to allow them to assist subsidized senior citizens on Healthcare.gov. But he also said that all 14 state exchanges have resisted his company’s offer of assistance.
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