Friday, September 25, 2015
Billy Long: I will work to replace Obamacare with sound health policy
Recently, a federal court ruled that the House of Representatives has the right to sue the Obama administration over billions of dollars in unauthorized Affordable Care Act (ACA) spending. It is the House’s duty to oversee spending and this case is necessary to reel in White House’s unconstitutional spending tactics. But, it’s important for the American people to realize that no matter the outcome of the case, and no matter which party our next president comes from, the American people and the federal government will have to face the harsh realities of the ACA, A.K.A. Obamacare, starting in 2016.
This law is just getting started, and already plans are lacking affordability and quality. More and more consumers rely on the internet to compare goods and services but – since the advent of Healthcare.gov – comparing healthcare insurance plans side-by-side has become difficult and confusing. From the beginning, the ACA’s coverage levels were foreseeably unsustainable and going forward, excessive moving-target rules and regulations – created by unelected bureaucrats outside of the legislative process – threaten businesses and jobs.
While ‘affordable’ is in the title of the bill, it has turned out to be quite the oxymoron. An unavoidable problem is that employer sponsored health coverage is at risk due to the average cost of premiums and deductibles for family health coverage skyrocketing. Beginning in 2018, the Health Excise Tax – or “Cadillac tax”– will force businesses that provide their workers what bureaucrats deem as ‘excessive benefits,’ to pay the federal government 40 percent of the coverage cost.
These costs alone put a cap on the quality of care that employer sponsored insureds – 169 million Americans and their families may receive. That’s if their employers are financially stable enough to keep providing coverage at all. A new rule from the Obama administration fines those who reimburse employees for individual health plan premiums $100 a day, which could total $36,500 a year. Please read that again, it’s not a typographical error.
True enough; a direct reimbursement would be a dereliction of employer mandate responsibilities. But, between the ACA’s layers of red tape and confusing paperwork requirements, a business owner could be unaware of their wrongdoing altogether. For a company operating at margin, a more than $30 thousand fine could be devastating.
The hundreds of millions of Americans under employer sponsored care are just part of the story. Most folks have heard about the ACA’s penalties for private insurance, but aren’t aware of the individual mandate’s overwhelming tax scale. This year, the penalty for being privately insured more than doubled to $325 a year or 2 percent of overall income. Some would see this cost as manageable, but would rightly change their mind in 2016. Next year, the average expected penalty for a private insured is $1,100 and will continue rising year-to-year thereafter as an unavoidable pressure for all Americans to opt for public exchanges.
As many of us feared, government run healthcare is an industry that benefits a few through overwhelming cost and treatment quality sacrifices of many.
I will continue the fight in Washington to replace the ACA with sound health policy that puts patients first, doesn’t threaten businesses, and won’t deter Americans from seeking care altogether.