Republican congress champions Obamacare repeal

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 10, 2015

After more than five years of broken promises, the failures of the President’s health-care law are unmistakable. A bill to repeal Obamacare would force the President to take an honest look at whether his law has delivered affordable health care to the American people. Congress will soon give President Obama this chance, sending a repeal bill to his desk for signature.
Premiums on the Rise
The real-life experiences of Mississippians underscore the health-care law’s costly and burdensome effects, putting many families’ entire financial security at risk. One Mississippian told me that she and her husband now face monthly rates of more than $1,000 for a plan with a $13,000 deductible. Another said she has seen her premium triple in cost in just two years.
These frustrations are widespread. National polls conducted since the enactment of Obamacare consistently show that a majority of Americans oppose the health-care law. With insurance plans being canceled and premiums rising, Americans are in desperate need of relief and better options.
Unfortunately, we face the possibility of drastically higher premiums again next year. Subsidized premiums could increase by 60 percent, rising more in our state than in any of the other 36 states that use the federally-run insurance exchange. Accessing health care in rural communities could become more difficult, too. A new study shows that at least nine rural hospitals in our state are at risk of closing, in large part because of Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare payments.
Protecting Taxpayer Dollars From Insurance Bailouts
Another sign of the law’s many failures is the fact that insurers are leaving the health-care exchanges. Last month, UnitedHealth – the country’s largest health insurer – indicated that it might withdraw next year. CEO Stephen Hemsley has said that UnitedHealth’s early participation in the exchange was “a bad decision.” Even the health insurance cooperatives created by Obamacare are going under. More than half have already failed.
The public should not have to pay for these mistakes with their tax dollars, in addition to shouldering the costs of the law’s expensive plans and onerous regulations. Last year, congressional Republicans made it clear that taxpayer dollars must not be used by the Obama Administration for insurance company bailouts. Republicans are now working to make this protection permanent. Despite the law’s title as the “Affordable Care Act,” health-care spending increased to more than $3 trillion last year – the largest rise in eight years. The Administration should recognize that the law is unworkable, rather than turning to taxpayers for help.
A $36,500 Tax on Small Business Employees
Repealing Obamacare would certainly help America’s job creators at a time when job growth is urgently needed. The law’s excessive costs are putting additional strain on small businesses in particular. The IRS recently announced a rule that could significantly impact employers with fewer than 50 workers. The rule would subject these employers to a $100 per worker per day excise tax for helping with health-care costs. That could mean a staggering $36,500 annual tax per worker.
The American people have decided that enough is enough. The recently passed “Restoring Americans’ Health Care Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015” demands that the President take responsibility for the Obamacare “train wreck.” Most importantly, it would pave the way for practical, market-driven solutions to be put in place instead.

By Senator Roger Wicker

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