WASHINGTON, D.C. | January 23, 2017
Doing Nothing on Obamacare Is Not an Option
By Reps. Tim Walberg, Mike Bishop, Paul Mitchell, and Dave Trott
In 2010, Nancy Pelosi famously said of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” Seven years later, we now know what’s in it: rising costs, fewer options and, for many, more uncertainty than ever before.
With a GOP majority in both chambers of Congress and a Republican president-elect, America stands at a crossroad. We can fix the problem, or we can maintain the status quo as the system collapses.
We have seen how the Affordable Care Act has driven up the cost of health care plans across the nation.
In 2014 alone, 8 million Americans paid the individual mandate tax penalty rather than purchase insurance. President Barack Obama’s promise that premiums would decline by $2,500 per family was woefully and willfully incorrect, as average premiums have risen. The average family’s employer-sponsored health care plan now costs more than $18,000 a year.
In Michigan, premiums for individuals are expected to climb nearly 17% in 2017. Last year, we saw deductibles rise an average of $492 across all plans on the exchange. And doing nothing will only make it worse. American families literally cannot afford for us to stand idly by.
In fact, eight in 10 Americans now favor changing Obamacare significantly or replacing it altogether.
In direct correlation to the rising health care costs, patient choice and access to care has declined — a blatant contradiction of Obama’s promise that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” That’s because the very design of Obamacare has achieved the opposite result.
Many insurance providers have either raised rates on all customers or are dropping out of the exchanges altogether, forcing many Americans to change their plans. Other insurers have been forced to narrow their networks because of mounting regulations that limit the number of doctors and hospitals covered by a given plan. So now, not only are our choices limited, but fewer options exist altogether.
Because of Obamacare’s size, scope and failed design, replacing it will need to be a several-step process with a stable transition period. Through this process there will be tireless efforts to mislead and instill fear, but the system is broken and we must address it.
We will not return to the pre-Obamacare status quo, but we will increase choice and decrease costs. Patients and doctors will be in charge of their health care, not the federal government. There is a better way to address health care in our nation, and it’s going to take ideas and support from both parties to fix it. Every representative has constituents who have been adversely affected by this law; doing nothing is not an option.
This is about making health care work for everyone.
U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, a Republican from Tipton, represents Michigan’s 7th District. U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, a Republican from Rochester, represents Michigan’s 8th District. U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, a Republican from Dryden, represents Michigan’s 10th District. U.S. Rep. Dave Trott, a Republican from Birmingham, represents Michigan’s 11th District.
Read the op-ed online here.