By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Mac Thornberry, United States congressman from the 13th district of Texas, was in Gainesville last week to discuss recent Washington events and to warn residents about Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) scams and fraudulent websites that have been created to take advantage of people seeking to sign up for the federal government sponsored healthcare plan.
“There is a great deal of confusion among people when it comes to Obamacare, and there are a lot of scam artists out there who are already trying to prey on unsuspecting folks caught up in that confusion,” Thornberry said.
“I just want to warn everyone to be careful,” he continued. “The problems with the launch of the president’s insurance plan have made it even easier for those who may want your information for questionable reasons.”
On Thornberry’s website, security experts say: Never pay a fee or give out personal information to anyone who contacts you by phone, e-mail, or text offering to set you up with the health care program; be wary of government impostors who try to collect money or credit card information from you; do not take threatening e-mails or phone calls from people using high pressure tactics advising you to submit sensitive information in order to avoid a fine or jail time; bogus claims that you need an Obamacare card to receive insurance coverage are also scams to get personal information.
“The problems that have unfolded with the Obamacare sign up is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “Sign up problems, medical cuts, costs and what is covered under the plan is still causing concern.”
The only official website to sign up for the Affordable Care Act is www.healthcare.gov. Also, the experts say do not blindly follow any link that says it will take you to the official website.
Thornberry said that it has been a difficult couple of weeks in Washington and although it was good to get home for a few days to visit with home folks, the government shutdown was weighing heavily on his mind.
“There have been 17 government shut downs since 1976 but this was the first one where outdoor monuments were barricaded,” he continued. “Most of it could have been avoided if both parties and the president had been able to sit down, talk and find out where compromises could be made.”
“Unfortunately, I am afraid that we will be facing the same battle in a short time since we did not fix the issue but merely prolonged necessary actions dealing with the budget until after the holidays,” he said. “All that was done was that the government is now funded until Jan. 15 and the debt limit is increased until Feb. 7.”
Thornberry said that it is necessary for congress to work together for the good of its constituents.
“We have to choose the battles we can win,” he said. “Many of our fellow Republicans from the north east caved under pressure. Our challenge is to keep our party on the same page to stand together yet be flexible to compromise when possible. We owe that to the people who entrusted us to work on their behalf.”
While home for a few days, Thornberry was happy to spend time on ranch work including branding cattle.
“When you brand cattle, you immediately see the results of your work.” he continued. “Unlike Washington.”