Last week, the Obama Administration announced that benchmark plans offered on the Obamacare exchanges would see, on average, a 25 percent increase in their premiums for 2017. That’s nearly four times greater than what the Congressional Budget Office had projected for next year. Rates will be going up even higher in many states across the country – including a 43 percent increase in Illinois, 42 percent in Kansas, 40 percent in North Carolina, 69 percent in Oklahoma, and 53 percent in Pennsylvania. The citizens of Arizona are expected to see an increase of 116 percent.
In response to substantial increases in premiums, federal government spending on the law’s premium tax credits per person will also rise. Those subsidies are automatically funded through the federal budget which means American taxpayers are on the hook for the failing Obamacare marketplace.
The Obama Administration has also admitted that 20 percent of those shopping for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges will have only one coverage option to choose from. That is not actually a choice. Furthermore, those plans that are offered come with narrower networks meaning fewer choices of physicians and less access to quality care. This forces many Americans to make the difficult decision between keeping trusted doctors or keeping necessary coverage.
And yet, President Obama says the law is working as intended, and Democrats continue to stand behind it. When confronted with its failings, their solution is always to get the government even more involved in health care. But we know how that story goes, and fewer choices and higher costs are not working for the American people. They know there has to be a better way, and House Republicans have offered positive solutions to solve the challenges in our health care system.
Under our plan, Americans would have more choices and the ability to pick a health insurance plan that meets their needs and those of their family. We would clear out the bureaucratic impediments to innovation and a more competitive marketplace while giving individuals and small businesses the ability to pool together and gain the purchasing power of millions.
We solve the insurance challenges of portability and pre-existing conditions by applying the same coverage rules that already exist in the employer-sponsored market – real, sustainable protections that mean no one can be priced out of the health insurance market if they have a bad diagnosis or injury. And, for those on a government health care program, we offer reforms that will empower states with the flexibility to best serve their Medicaid populations while offering Medicare beneficiaries more choices that will help save, strengthen, and secure this vital program in the years to come.
Our patient-centered solutions put patients, families, and doctors in charge of health care decisions. Washington has tried the bureaucratic way, and it is failing. It’s time to try a Better Way.