We are witnessing the dangerous collapse of Obamacare.
The last insurance provider in Iowa offering plans on Obamacare’s individual marketplace announced it will stop selling them. That means 72,000 Iowans, including those with pre-existing conditions, will have no options for care in 2018. People across dozens of counties in Tennessee face the same fate. About 2.8 million people in more than 1,000 counties across the country are one insurance company pulling out of the market away from having no options. Kansas or Missouri could be next.
Even families who do have coverage in name only through Obamacare face skyrocketing premiums and out-of-pocket costs approaching $13,000. Kansans were stuck with a 42 percent premium increase for 2017.
Under Obamacare, the federal government has regulated competition out of the market, which has ballooned the cost of care, leaving patients with no good options, if any at all.
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The choice before us is clear: Move toward socialized medicine or return to personalized medicine.
Rather than giving the federal government full control of health care decisions, lowering the quality of care and costing taxpayers more than $30 trillion over 10 years — what a single payer system will do — I voted to choose markets over mandates, innovation over regulation and patients over bureaucrats.
Lowering the cost of care is the rising tide that will lift all boats. The American Health Care Act takes direct aim at lowering costs by making necessary and immediate repairs to what’s left of the devastated individual marketplace.
For the 93 percent of people who get insurance through employers or the government, coverage likely won’t change.
For the 7 percent of Americans on the individual marketplace, the AHCA provides more choice and competition, leading to lower premiums and greater access to care. It does it by repealing nearly $1 trillion in job-killing taxes driving up the cost of health care and promoting freedom and choice by undoing the regulatory framework centered on the failed individual and employer mandates.
Now, we all know someone with a pre-existing condition, friends and family members who deserve access to affordable coverage like anyone else. That’s why we leave in place Obamacare’s rules preventing insurance providers from denying coverage or charging more expensive rates based on health status.
Health care decisions are best made by those who understand each state’s unique patient population, not bureaucrats in Washington. If a state can show more innovative solutions to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions, it can tailor-make its own regulations in certain instances. However, as long as you have continuous coverage, you cannot be charged more for a pre-existing condition in any state, waiver or not. And even those Americans with gaps in coverage will find their plans heavily subsidized to ensure affordable care for all.
Allowing states to innovate has to be part of any solution to our health care needs. No longer can we expect a one-size-fits-all health care system to create the solutions we need to lower costs.
Look at Maine, which implemented a successful invisible risk-sharing program that protected people with pre-existing conditions much better than Obamacare. It cut premiums across the board by 50 percent and guaranteed individuals with pre-existing conditions access to the same plans as healthy individuals with no stigma. It’s invisible because you don’t know you’re a part of it. It’s a model for other states to follow.
Too many politicians break their campaign promises. I’ve run on repealing and replacing Obamacare with reforms that lower costs and increase access to care every election. After thoroughly reading and understanding the bill, this is the right thing to do, and I’m keeping my promise by voting yes.
Kevin Yoder is a Republican representing Kansas’ 3rd District in the U.S. House.