Obamacare’s Five Year Anniversary: More Money, More Problems
By Senator Mike Rounds
March 20, 2015
It has been five years since the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, was rushed through Congress on a partisan vote and forced upon the American people. Since becoming law, it has been plagued with lawsuits, website glitches, cancelled policies, unworkable provisions, delays and repeals. Premiums are skyrocketing for many South Dakota families, and small businesses are spending thousands of dollars to comply with new paperwork mandates. And that is just the first five years. As we look ahead, we can foresee more problems and uncertainty.
The ACA subsidies are currently under review in the United State Supreme Court in the case of King v. Burwell. The court will determine whether the law only allows individuals who enroll through state-run exchanges to receive health care tax credits. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, residents in 34 states, including South Dakota, are at risk of losing the tax credits they have been receiving through federal exchanges. Without these credits, close to 10 million Americans will be confronted with ACA’s true cost, facing much higher premiums. Despite a ruling expected in June 2015, the Obama Administration has said it has no contingency plans to help these Americans if the provision is overturned. Obamacare is a mess, plain and simple.
Small businesses have also felt the adverse effects of the ACA. A recent report from the National Small Business Association found that on average, small business will have to spend $15,000 annually to comply with all the paperwork issued in Obamacare. Another study of small businesses found that Obamacare has lowered employment by 350,000 and reduced workers’ wages by approximately $1,000 annually. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. This government-imposed obstacle to growth will be felt in every community in America.
As a small business owner working in the insurance industry, my ideas for healthcare reform are very different from Obamacare. First, I support a market-based, patient-centered approach that is truly affordable for families. I believe this can be achieved by enacting transparent, step-by-step reforms, rather than a 2,700 page bill written behind closed doors. I support common-sense initiatives, like expanding Health Savings Accounts and creating pools, such as the Multiple Employers Welfare Trust, in which small businesses can unite to secure better rates.
I also believe we must eliminate the employer mandate, the individual mandate, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Additionally, we can cut health care costs by reforming medical liability laws. Our current system encourages frivolous lawsuits which come at a high cost to doctors, taxpayers, and truly injured patients who deserve timely compensation. We can also protect consumers and hold insurance companies more accountable by increasing transparency, standardizing paperwork, and helping those with pre-existing conditions maintain access to care.
As Obamacare reaches the five-year mark, South Dakota families and business owners have been riddled with confusion, premium increases, lost coverages and fewer choices when it comes to health care. I will continue to work with my colleagues to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a market-based solution that gives families the power to choose the plan that best fits their needs and budget.