BY CHRIS DAY
Republican Candidate for Congress (District 17)
The “deadline” to sign up for Obamacare came and went overnight, and now it’s time to take stock of where we stand. I use quotation marks because, of course, the law was unilaterally modified by the President to allow for partial sign ups to be completed later, one of many such moves.
Our healthcare system in this country has, for many years, been quite broken – particularly by rising costs. Unfortunately, the 20,000 page “Affordable Care Act” only worsened our problems, building new governmental demands and inefficient bureaucracy on top of a crumbling foundation.
We all know that the implementation of this law has been a disaster. A personal story: my fiancée lost her coverage due to this law (one of millions across the country), and we had to navigate through a broken website, numerous phone calls, and confusing rules just to get her signed up on the exchange for a new one. Despite our efforts, despite paying on time, she faced a gap in coverage of two months – and then they double billed her for the initial sign up fee plus the gap in coverage.
But it’s not just the implementation, it’s the law itself. Unions and union workers are being crushed by the requirements, as they find that they are now completely unable to compete with non-unionized employers who don’t provide any healthcare. Employers have been incentivized to cut hours in order to escape an employer mandate that could cause the collapse of many small businesses.
Costs – supposedly the focus of the law – are skyrocketing. Young people are paying higher premiums in order to subsidize coverage they explicitly don’t want or need due to the elimination of most catastrophic care plans. The average deductible on the entry-level health insurance exchange plans is now 42% higher than the comparable pre-Obamacare plan. Things like the Medical Devices Tax are increasing the actual cost of procedures for patients.
In short, it’s a mess. Our Congresswoman stubbornly insists that all is well, occasionally adding a Star Wars-style hand wave to wipe our memories of these facts. But the facts cannot be forgotten, and just because she has the luxury of being able to put ideology over reality due to her government benefits and personal resources doesn’t make us suffer any less.
What we need now is real, focused reform. We need to take out the perverse incentives that harm small businesses and unions. We need genuine tort reform so doctors can do their jobs without fear of scurrilous lawsuits. We need more flexibility in plan choices so informed consumers can make choices about what is best for them and their families, not some bureaucrat in Washington.
I will provide that focus, and I am prepared to offer reform that works and can be realistically implemented. Because, in the end, this isn’t some game. Real, hardworking people are hurting – and they need a representative who will prioritize fixing things over scoring political points. We’ve all been suffering long enough. It’s time to change that.