Op-Ed: GOP looks for better health care plan
by Rep. Susan Brooks, Rep. Larry Bucshon, Rep. Todd Rokita, Rep. Luke Messer, Rep. Jackie Walorski, Rep. Jim Banks, and Rep. Trey Hollingsworth
Eight in 10 Americans believe we should significantly change or repeal Obamacare. Why?
It’s forcing millions of Americans and Hoosiers to make very tough choices.
Families and individuals covered through their employer are forced to make the difficult choice: pay their premium each month or pay their bills. Rising premium costs have far outpaced the growth of paychecks meaning less take-home pay. At the same time, deductibles, the amount of money paid before insurance kicks in, are skyrocketing; deductibles are up 63 percent since 2011.
People covered through the health care exchanges are facing a different choice: keep their trusted doctor or find a more affordable, different plan. In Indiana, four of the eight plans available on the exchanges last year are no longer an option for Hoosiers. As a result, 68,000 Hoosiers lost their plan. Additionally, in one third of the country — including five states — Americans have access to only one insurer in 2017.
Families who are working to support themselves and don’t qualify for Medicaid are facing the toughest choice of all: pay a premium they can’t afford or go uninsured altogether while paying the federally-mandated penalty. Nearly the same number of Americans chose to pay the penalty for not having insurance as those who received a subsidy last year. To put this choice in perspective, the average 2017 deductibles for individuals and families on an Obamacare “bronze plan” are $6,000 and $12,000 respectively. For a family making $50,000 a year, that’s no better than going uninsured.
The reality is that Obamacare turned the entire healthcare system on its head and still left nearly 30 million Americans uninsured. Of the 20 million Americans covered under the law, half were thrown into traditional Medicaid, a failing program that studies show leaves patients worse off than their uninsured counterparts. Furthermore, estimates show that as many as 5 million Americans lost their coverage and were forced into the exchanges as a result of the law.
Increased out-of-pocket costs, limited choices and restricted access are not the changes we were promised when Obamacare was signed into law in 2010.
For these reasons and others, we agree with the majority of Americans who want relief from Obamacare. Doing nothing at this point would be irresponsible.
So, Congress took the first procedural steps to repeal and replace Obamacare with a better health care system that puts health care decisions back where they belong, in patients’ hands. As we move forward, we are committed to ensuring that every American has access to quality, affordable health coverage. We all agree that a smooth transition is critical. Any changes should take place over time, and we will not pull the rug out from under anyone.
Claims that millions of Americans will lose coverage are simply not true. Without a doubt, some Americans benefited from the law and we are committed to protecting those Americans. However, far more Americans have been upended by the law, and we are working to bring them relief.
As we are in the process of repealing Obamacare, we will also rebuild our health care system with our ideas, some of which are included in “A Better Way Agenda.” These ideas include protecting coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions and allowing people under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans. In fact, our healthcare proposals have always included these ideas — before Obamacare, during debate of the law and they remain a priority today.
We are committed to working with all of our colleagues and the Trump-Pence Administration to build a health care system that works better for you. Please take the time to look at some of our ideas, available online at better.gop. We want to hear your insights and ideas about how we can improve health care for everyone. We are determined to provide relief to the millions of families facing tough choices as a direct result of Obamacare, and we hope that you’ll work with us to achieve our goal of more affordable, accessible health care that offers you and your family better options.
Read the full op-ed here.