Senator John Thune
ObamaCare, which was signed into law in March of 2010, was pitched to the American people as a way to lower the cost of health care. Throughout the 2008 election cycle, candidate Obama repeatedly claimed that his health care bill would cut premiums by an average of $2,500 per family. Unfortunately, while the president got his health care bill, the American people did not get lower premiums, and instead the “Affordable” Care Act has increased the cost of premiums by over 14 percent since the president signed the bill into law.
The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released the results of its annual survey of employer-sponsored health insurance premiums. According to the survey, premiums for the average family health insurance plan rose by $672 per family this year, making the average cost of health insurance for a family $3,000 higher now than it was in 2008 under the previous administration.
Increases in the price of health insurance premiums are not just impacting the health insurance market. The high cost of premiums are also stifling hiring decisions among businesses and taking away financial resources that would normally be invested in their businesses. For example, the health care law contains a provision that mandates employers include certain government-determined “essential benefits” for any employer-sponsored health plan, leaving almost no flexibility for an employer to determine what is best for his or her employees. Many of these required benefits increase the cost of the existing plans for employers. Due to the increased cost of the benefits, some small employers may decide they are no longer able to afford health insurance for their employees and will drop coverage all together. Other larger employers may instead place a moratorium on hiring while they wait to determine how the cost of including the “essential benefits” in their health care plans impacts their bottom line.
As President Obama campaigned around the country in support of his health care law in 2009 he famously said, “If you like your plan you can keep it.” Yet the higher cost of premiums is already preventing people who liked their plan from keeping the coverage they previously had, including individuals who have Medicare Advantage plans. According to the Obama administration’s own estimate, nearly 80 percent of small businesses will be forced to give up their current coverage by 2013.
I strongly believe in ensuring access to high quality health care for all Americans. I also believe it is important to provide options and choice in the marketplace, and to allow individuals, not the federal government, to decide on the plan that is best for them. ObamaCare has been built on a series of broken promises to the American people, it is time for Congress to repeal the law and replace it with common sense solutions that actually lower costs and create choice in the marketplace.