|As we begin the new Congress, the groundwork is being laid to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—commonly known as Obamacare—and provide a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that meets the needs of everyone. As I hear from constituents on both sides of this important debate, I hope the information below will answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
Has Obamacare lived up to its promises?
Obamacare was sold to the public under a series of significant assurances that have not come true, namely:
- Families were promised “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” That promise turned out to be the “Lie of the Year,” and instead, millions of Americans lost their health care plans they were told they could keep.
- Families were promised “if you like your doctor, you can keep doctor.” This promise was also broken and far too many Americans had to look elsewhere for a physician.
- Families were promised that premiums would decline by $2,500 per family. The reality is that the average annual family premiums in the employer-sponsored market have soared by roughly $4,300 and now total more than $18,000 annually.
- Families were promised more health care options to choose from, but instead choices have dwindled. In fact, in roughly 1,000 counties across the country there is only one insurance provider to pick from—which is not a choice at all.
What has happened to health care costs under Obamacare?
As Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Mark Dayton said, “The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people.” Across the country, the average family has been faced with double digit premium increases. In Michigan, premiums jumped by nearly 17 percent in 2017. And in states like Arizona, premiums skyrocketed by a whopping 116 percent.
On top of higher premiums, out of pocket costs have also increased under Obamacare. Since 2010, deductibles for individual plans in the employer-sponsored market are up an average of 60 percent.
Meanwhile, the increased costs associated with Obamacare have actually discouraged enrollments. In 2015, roughly eight million Americans paid the individual mandate penalty rather than purchase too-costly health insurance.
What about the Obamacare CO-OPs?
Already, 18 of the original 23 Obamacare CO-OPs have failed, further reducing provider options and costing taxpayers of more than $1.8 billion, including nearly $72 million from Michigan’s failed CO-OP. Michigan families, particularly those who live in rural communities, are finding they have fewer in-network providers and must travel long distances to find care.
Why does Obamacare need to be replaced?
Obamacare imposed a dizzying maze of bureaucracy that stands between doctors and their patients. The problems with Obamacare can’t be ignored—we must act now to fix health care before things get even worse and costs go even higher.
What will the replacement process look like?
House Republicans have already outlined a general blueprint to replace Obamacare in our “Better Way” proposal, which will serve as a framework for legislative solutions that expand access, increase competition, and lower the cost of care. The goal is to give greater control to patients and families so they can decide what works best for them—not Washington.
The transition to the replacement plan will be a step-by-step, thoughtful, and stable process so that nobody falls through the cracks. As we offer a path to a better system for everyone, we will not pull the rug out from under people.
How will it affect those with pre-existing conditions?
I am a co-sponsor of the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act to to preserve health care access and protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. People should not be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, and protections for patients with pre-existing conditions will be included in the replacement plan.
Will those under the age of 26 be allowed to stay on their parent’s health insurance?
Under the replacement plan, young people will be able to stay on their parent’s insurance until the age of 26.
What happens next?
With Obamacare, Washington experimented with big government mandates and a one-size-fits-all approach to health care. It didn’t work as promised, and as a result, the law has done more harm than good. Health care is important to so many of us. We have to get it right this time. I’m hopeful we can work together in a bipartisan way to fix our health care system with personalized, patient-centered reforms that ensure every American has access to affordable, dependable, high quality health care.