12 freshman House members: The Senate needs to act on health care
Monday night’s headlines announced: “Health bill stalls as more GOP senators announce opposition.” Imagine the dismay of House Republicans when they read or hear these sound bites. More importantly, imagine the distress of constituents across the nation who are suffering under ObamaCare. Our party campaigned on repealing and replacing ObamaCare with something better, but until now the opportunity was never truly possible.
We House Republican freshmen remain fully aware that we were elected with a mandate from voters to end the pain that ObamaCare has caused and provide a better solution. Failure to do so is a failure to follow the will of our voters who elected a Republican majority to both the House and Senate, placed a Republican in the White House, and worked tirelessly to secure change from the status quo.
None of this comes as a surprise given the staggering statistics: Just seven years after the Affordable Care Act became law, 3 million people could have just one insurer available to them, while 35,000 could have no carriers at all. Premiums have increased 105 percent. Rather than bear these excessive costs, 6.5 million Americans chose to pay penalties, amounting to a total of $3 billion in 2015 alone. It’s no wonder many have chosen not to purchase insurance given that those with insurance bear massive deductibles ranging from $3,000 to $10,000.
Behind these statistics are people. People like Michelle Harris, a retired waitress who suffers from arthritis, an ailment brought on by years of serving tables. With ObamaCare co-pays and deductibles, she can’t afford to see a physician to manage her disease. “It hurts,” she said, “but we don’t have that kind of money.”
Irene Solesky, a mortgage underwriter from Maryland, points out that medical insurance, designed to protect people from financial ruin when they become ill, is actually driving people to financial ruin. Solesky’s family paid $1,351 in premiums in 2016 and a had a massive $13,100 deductible. Yet, this is what ObamaCare has led to—it took a system that needed improvement and piled a complex network of taxes and regulations on top of it, further harming American families. Less choice, less access and higher costs. This is the reality ObamaCare has forced upon Americans.
Simply putting a band-aid on the problem will not fix the gaping wound ObamaCare has created. Handing billions of dollars to insurance companies to deal with skyrocketing premiums will not fix the problem, rather it will just temporarily alleviate the losses insurance carriers have taken under ObamaCare. Insurers will continue to leave the exchange, and the American people will continue to have fewer options. Just this week, we saw a 38 percent drop in the number of insurers that have agreed to participate in the 2018 ObamaCare exchange. This is not because Republicans are obstructing ObamaCare fixes, but because ObamaCare, at its core, is unsustainable.
The American people sent Republican majorities to Washington to end business as usual and save our health care system before it collapses. We can no longer afford to kick the can down the road. It is time for real solutions. The American people can no longer suffer under the collapse of ObamaCare – which is inevitable if the GOP fails to act. That’s why the House passed the American Health Care Act, and why the Senate must act.
The House did its work, it is time for our colleagues in the Senate to do theirs.