Over the past few days we have been listening to the health care horror stories from across the country such as families earning an annual income of $50,000 who opted for high deductible coverage and are facing up to $6,000 in out-of-pocket costs before their coverage begins. That is not affordable insurance. Nearly seven years after the enactment of Obamacare and three years into implementation, one thing is crystal clear: Obamacare has failed.
But Republicans are working to fix the damage. Over the past several years, it is clear that this law is simply unworkable for millions of hardworking Americans. Insurance markets are collapsing, premiums are soaring, and health care choices are disappearing. But the answer isn’t to ignore the problem. With Obamacare getting worse by the day, it’s time to act.
The repeal resolution we are debating this week promises relief from Obamacare and provides the tools necessary to immediately repeal this failed law, while ensuring a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.
The resolution includes instructions to authorizing committees so that repeal legislation can move through a fast-track process and can pass with only a simple majority in the House and Senate. These instructions to committees are provided to allow immediate action on repeal, with the intent of sending legislation to the new President’s desk as soon as possible.
Headlines from across the nation highlight the urgent call to action:
NEW YORK TIMES: “Obamacare Premiums Set to Rise, Even for Savvy Shoppers”
WALL STREET JOURNAL: “Insurers Move to Limit Options in Health-Care Exchange Plans”
BALTIMORE SUN: “Marylanders face hefty rate increases for Obamacare”
OMAHA WORLD-HERALD: “Health insurance rate increases may have some Nebraskans in sticker shock”
MIAMI HERALD: “Florida’s Obamacare premiums to rise average 19 percent in 2017, state says”
BERGEN COUNTY RECORD: “New Jersey left with just two Obamacare health providers for 2017”
My own state of Wyoming is down to one insurer in the individual market, both on and off the exchange. It is a national scandal.
It is also important to look at the facts surrounding Obamacare – some on the other side of the aisle like to focus on how many people are insured under the law, but let’s look at how many more are NOT insured: Almost 28 million Americans remain without insurance under Obamacare.
Even with insurance, many still can’t afford care due to surging deductibles, and most of the newly insured only gained coverage through a flawed Medicaid program that is providing inferior quality and threatening to bankrupt states across the nation.
According to research from the architect of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, he explicitly said most of the newly enrolled beneficiaries were actually eligible for Medicaid before Obamacare. In fact, his research showed that two-thirds of new people signing up for Medicaid were brought into the program NOT through Obamacare, but by increased Medicaid advertising.
As America soon discovered, the President and Congressional Democrats focused exclusively on “coverage,” and mandates handed down from Washington instead of patient centered reforms.
Coverage was the silver bullet for them because coverage equaled health care. They forgot a key detail though – the cost of the plans they were mandating made it nearly impossible for many to pay for insurance or, if they had coverage, to pay for care with sky-high deductibles. Focusing on and highlighting the numbers of people now enrolled in Obamacare doesn’t translate into anything more than phantom insurance with users plagued by inadequate coverage coupled with huge out-of-pocket costs.
We are seeing families now having to forego medical care, not because they don’t have insurance, but because it is simply too expensive to go to the doctor with their Obamacare health plan. Normally I’d say, “you get what you pay for,” but with Obamacare, you seem to just pay without getting much at all. It’s like buying a bus ticket, but when you show up for your trip they tell you that getting a seat is extra and you’ll have to chip in for gas.
For years, Republicans have pledged to repeal this disastrous law. Passing this resolution is the first step in keeping that promise, clearing the way for the consideration of repeal legislation that will be signed into law by the new President. While providing immediate relief from Obamacare, Republicans will ensure there is a stable transition in which those with insurance will not lose access to health care coverage. This will allow the nation to move to a patient-centered health care system that gives hardworking Americans access to quality, affordable care.
The goal is a more modern health care system where there is innovation to improve the health of all Americans, where insurers are able to offer new and affordable options and families have more direct say over their own health care decisions.
Unwinding partisan gridlock to make these changes will not be easy. As I noted in my earlier remarks, our nation has made great strides in improving the quality of life for all Americans, but these transformative changes were ALWAYS forged in the spirit of bipartisan compromise and cooperation. We still need health care reform, but it has to be done the right way. Passing this resolution will start building a bridge from Obamacare’s broken promises to better care for each and every American.