Obamacare repeal is underway, yet the problems that prompted the bill that we had to ‘pass so that we could find out what was in it’ remain. One cannot reasonably debate the effectiveness of Obamacare. To date, it is an unmitigated disaster. Bill Clinton called it “the craziest thing in the world,” lamenting that hard working Americans are the victims of this broken system. Minnesota Democrat Governor Mark Dayton said “the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable.” Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed, hundreds of percent in some cases. Within months, cities such as Pinal County, Arizona, will have zero providers from which individuals can choose.
The problem is that Obamacare is worse than the problem it was meant to solve. Individuals added to rolls through expanded Medicaid or federal subsidies drive up rates for those working class folks to whom the burden is shifted. Substandard care replaces substandard care for the poor - the only difference is that those individuals now have ‘Obamacare’. In reality, indigent care already existed, but the burden went to the overarching state and federal schemes, not to individuals who might have ‘liked their plans and wanted to keep them.’
Recently the President and House leadership put forward a plan that 'repealed and replaced' Obamacare. Many of my colleagues and I took issue with the American Health Care Act of 2017 because we did not believe it went far enough to drive down premiums and deductibles for consumers. "Coverage" has unfortunately been the standard when we should be looking at actual "care." It does very little for someone to have an insurance card in their wallet if they are unable to pay premiums to ensure their healthcare needs are taken care of.
As such, I have been advocating for Congressional Representatives and the President to allow for more control and choices for consumers to choose the plan that is best for them on an individual basis, without overreaching federal mandates. Further, we need to also allow for individuals to have access to care regardless of age, income, or specific conditions. On that note and in the interest of driving down costs, we need to examine further opportunities to increase competition - and the House has already taken measures to do just that by voting for the repeal of the McCarren-Ferguson Antritrust Exemption that, if enacted, would allow for individuals to shop across state lines.
The issue of healthcare reform remains towards the top of the 2017 agenda for Congress and I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come up with a market-based solution that drives down costs and increases access for all Americans.