Gwinnett Daily Post-For all of its supporters’ sincere high hopes, Obamacare has been failing for a long time. With its long-expected collapse nearing, the time to come together around a better way is now.
A full-time student with a part-time job contacted me recently to tell me he couldn’t afford the insurance that the Obamacare exchange provided. He was planning to pay the Obamacare tax instead. Is this really the best we can do?
A single mom shared her story with me. She has two children —11 and 13 — and a $25,000 a year salary. She told me that the doctor that she wanted for her children doesn’t accept Medicaid, and the Obamacare plan that allows her access costs nearly $500 a month and has a $12,600 deductible. Having spent more than $1 trillion to help the uninsured, is this really the best that America can do?
A retired couple shared their story with me. Looking for insurance until they turn 65, they found an Obamacare plan that cost $1,200 a month last year. This year, it rose to $2,000. Having re-regulated one-sixth of the American economy with the promise of lowering premiums by thousands of dollars for every American family, are these giant premium increases really the best that we can do?
No, it isn’t. And, arguably, we haven’t even seen the worst of it yet. More insurers are dropping out, as last week Humana announced its complete withdrawal from Obamacare at the end of 2017. What few choices are available are shrinking, and premiums are continuing to skyrocket as more Americans decide Obamacare isn’t working for them. Aetna’s CEO called it an Obamacare “death spiral,” suggesting the collapse of the program is near.
So I am asking you to join me and the House of Representatives to repeal Obamacare and go back to the drawing board — together. What does going back to the drawing board mean? Greg Walden, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care, says it means, “mak(ing) sure that people with pre-existing conditions continue to get covered.” I agree. New Health and Human Services Secretary and former U.S. Rep. Tom Price says it means not “pulling the rug out from under anybody.” I agree. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it means “there will be a stable transition period, and once repeal is passed we will turn to replacement policies that cost less and work better than what we have now.” I agree.
It won’t be easy, but Congress will work to breathe life back into local health care markets, particularly in that one-third of America’s counties that have only a single insurance company remaining in the Obamacare exchange. Congress is committed to repealing the failed vision of “government knows best” and replacing it with the proven model of “family knows best.”
That means fewer federal mandates and more individual choices. Some Americans are asking for better access to Health Savings Accounts for their families. We can do that. Others are asking for the flexibility of tax credits to enable them to afford the plan of their choice that will provide the most value. We can do that. Other Americans believe state-based risk pools will be the best solution for their needs. We can do that. All of these ideas have been developed. They exist in state legislatures across the country, and they are already in Obamacare alternatives in the U.S. House like the American Health Care Reform Act, the Empowering Patients First Act, the Health Care Freedom Act and the House Better Way proposal. With a new President, we now have a real opportunity to turn these ideas into tangible solutions for American families. It won’t happen overnight, but we can restore choice and opportunity to the marketplace. It won’t happen overnight, but we can bring back the opportunity to choose a plan based on your family’s needs rather than Uncle Sam’s. It won’t happen overnight, but we can free those American families trapped in the current “death spiral” of rising costs and shrinking choices in a government-run system, and we can put patients back in control.
U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., represents the 7th Congressional District, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and serves as chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee.