Weekly Columns

When I ask Arkansans what frustrates them about the direction of our country, the most common response I hear is that “Washington does not listen to us.”

Obamacare is a perfect example of how Congressional Democrats and officials in the White House, who claim they know what’s best for hardworking Americans, refuse to listen to the concerns of the people.

From the beginning, the President pushed Obamacare down the throats of Americans with no concerns about the negative effects it would have on them.

President Obama promised his approach would lower health care costs. In fact, the President, and Congressional Democrats who forced Obamacare through Congress, promised to lower health care costs by approximately $2,500 per family. Instead, health care costs for most Americans are going in the opposite direction under Obamacare. Now, hardworking Americans already struggling to make ends meet are about to be hit harder in the coming year.

The Obama administration confirms that health insurance premiums sold through Obamacare will see double-digit increases—an average of a twenty percent-plus surge—in 2017. This is not, as the President has billed it, “affordable care.” Rather, this massive spike in premium costs is further evidence that Obamacare is failing.

The premium increases are the direct result of the manner in which Obamacare’s exchanges were created. Insurers who participate in the marketplace are losing money at a rapid pace, leading many to either raise premium rates across-the-board or drop out of the marketplaces all together, leaving many states with extremely limited choices. The unsustainability of the marketplaces led one of the nations largest health insurers, UnitedHealthcare, to pull out of most exchanges—including in Arkansas—earlier this year.

Obamacare is collapsing under the weight of its own massive bureaucracy. Nothing in this law will contain healthcare costs, but that has not stopped the President and Senate Democrats from attempting to double down on failure by expanding Obamacare.

Competition is how you lower costs. We need to allow Americans to shop across state lines for their health insurance like they can for their automobile insurance, allow small business owners to pool together to purchase group insurance at a lower rate and introduce portability to the market to ensure that hardworking Americans don’t have disruptions in their coverage when they change jobs 

These free market approaches—along with an expansion of health savings accounts and tort reform—are how you drive down the cost of care.

This reality seems of little interest to the President and Congressional Democrats. They want you to believe that Obamacare is working and only needs minor “fixes” to reverse what are inherent failures in the law. They also want you to believe that anyone who opposes this bureaucratic mess of a program opposes efforts to get medical care to uninsured Americans.

I reject this empty argument. My colleagues and I who support repeal, do not do so in haste. Nor do we deny that our nation’s healthcare system was in a serious crisis before the President took it over. We simply believe that there are many ways to address these problems that do not drive up health care costs, bust our budget, stifle job growth or raise taxes on hardworking Americans. 

We intend to continue to vigorously pursue those better ways.

The President got his way over the vocal objections of millions of Americans. His way has made our health care crisis worse. Let’s turn to the free market to fix the mess Obamacare has created.

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