| America’s health care system must be reformed in order to reduce costs, increase coverage, and improve quality of care for all Americans.
I’ve supported common sense reforms to increase access to affordable health insurance, encourage private sector competition and give individuals the freedom to manage their own health care. Such reforms include allowing citizens to purchase health insurance across state lines, helping small businesses pool together to negotiate better rates, expanding health savings accounts, tort reform, and guaranteeing protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
President Obama promised that his healthcare law (the Affordable Care Act/ACA) would cut costs and make coverage more affordable for families. These claims have not held up to the facts, and I’ve heard directly from hundreds of families and small businesses worried about the increased cost of health insurance under this new law. The ACA contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally estimated that the bill would cost $940 billion over ten years; that estimate has increased to $1.683 trillion – a 55 percent cost increase before the law is even fully implemented.
The ACA’s online health insurance exchanges have proven rife with problems. The registration and enrollment process has been a disaster thus far, with most potential users either being locked out of the federal exchange system or simply unable to complete the application process. Overall, this part of the implementation of the ACA is off to a disastrous start.
Likewise, the Obama Administration unilaterally delayed portions of the law without Congressional approval, such as the decision to delay the employer mandate for a year. Prior to the government shutdown in Fall 2013, the U.S. House adopted legislation that called for a one-year delay of the ACA’s mandate that required every American citizen to buy health insurance. The President and Senate Democrats refused to even consider this proposal and, as a result, the government shut down.
A month later, after millions of Americans lost health care plans they were promised they could keep, many Congressional Democrats began calling for a delay in the individual mandate - the same policy House Republicans offered in order to avert the government shutdown. What was labeled as "extremist" or "irresponsible" a month prior was now being adopted by increasingly more Democrats as they saw a fundamental unfairness in the way the ACA was being implemented. Instead of name-calling and politically-motivated “fixes”, we need solutions that solve the underlying problems with our health care system.
I’ll continue to look to replace this legislation with a system that emphasizes improving quality, accessibility and affordability, and will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to initiate common-sense reforms that don’t interfere with individual choice, threaten jobs due to rising costs on employers, or increase our already unsustainable debt.
Finally, neither I as a Member of Congress nor any member of my staff receive any exemption from this law. I’ve said since my first day in office that all elected federal officials should be treated the same as the people they serve – which is why my staff, like millions of Americans, are subject to getting their health care through the ACA exchanges. I find it ironic, hypocritical and reprehensible that many of the architects of this new health care law, including the Obama Administration, have exempted themselves from the mandates of this law.