By Congressman Will Hurd
ObamaCare was passed amidst a lot of promises – lower premiums, smaller out-of-pocket costs, claims that the average family would save about $2,500 a year, and maybe most famously, the President’s pronouncement “That if you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” which went on to become Politifact’s Lie of the Year.
For most Americans, none of this has come true. Millions of working families discovered that the plan they liked was no longer available and that the alternatives offered cost more than they wanted to spend and mandated coverage they simply did not need or want. Seniors sadly came to learn that the doctor they trusted and had visited for years was no longer available under new plans they had no choice but to accept. Those who were able to keep their plans have in many cases seen back-to-back double-digit premium increases.
Taxes associated with ObamaCare are hurting the economy and job growth – especially in the medical device industry. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the equivalent of 2 million jobs will be lost during the next decade. Small businesses have had it with the added overhead cost that ObamaCare compliance has created. The 106 regulations associated with the Affordable Care Act are costing small businesses and families more than $45 billion and require 165 million hours of paperwork. In many cases these increased compliance costs and future burdens like the “Cadillac Tax” are actually forcing businesses to decrease the quality of the plans they offer to their employees.
No one believes that our health care system was perfect before, but since ObamaCare passed, access to quality, affordable health care has decreased for millions of Americans. We can do better.
That starts with repealing the Affordable Care Act. House and Senate Republicans worked together to put legislation, for the first time, on the President’s desk which would have gutted ObamaCare. Predictably, he vetoed it. But we decidedly proved that repealing ObamaCare is just a matter of having the right person in the White House to sign that legislation.
But it’s not enough to just repeal bad legislation. We have to follow up with a plan that puts patients firmly back in control of their own health care decisions. To start with, no one should be forced to purchase health insurance against their will. We can increase access to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and allow consumers to purchase plans from across state lines to help lower costs. We should also expand support for state high-risk pools and portability so that those with pre-existing conditions continue to receive care. Speaker Ryan has guaranteed that a conservative alternative will be offered this year to show that we mean business.
There are other things Congress can do to help increase access to affordable health care. The legislation that the President vetoed and Democrats voted against took tax dollars currently being given to abortion providers and redirected that money to the thousands of community health clinics that provide quality, affordable health care to women and families in our underserved communities. We have more than three dozen such clinics in the 23rd Congressional District of Texas and these funds would make an enormous difference to them and the families they serve. Last year, I voted for legislation that saved these centers from the “fiscal cliff” they were facing, and I am committed to making sure these federal approved community health clinics continue to be able to provide quality care for the people I represent.
ObamaCare was unpopular with the American people before it was passed, and after seven years, more than half of Americans still disapprove. Congress is ready to repeal this failure of a law and work to ensure that Americans have more freedom and access to affordable health care.