It's time to repeal Obamacare
The following column by U.S. Representative Roger Williams originally appeared in the Dallas Morning News:
For the last four years that I have served in office, Texans in my district have made it overwhelmingly clear to me that Obamacare isn't working for them. Under Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, out-of-pocket costs are skyrocketing, high premiums are making plans unaffordable and insurers are dropping out of the exchanges, leaving many with too few health insurance options.
As someone who has been in business for most of my life, I understand that free market competition, not government, lowers costs. Under Obamacare, competition is dwindling.
Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and Humana, three massive insurance companies, decided to begin pulling out of Obamacare exchanges. This is leaving smaller insurers questioning their own sustainability in the marketplaces.
President Barack Obama, at best, misjudged reality when he sold his healthcare law to the American public. You can keep your doctor, he said. Your premiums won't go up and everyone will be covered, we were told. After all, the actual name of the law is the Affordable Care Act. The promises sounded too good to be true, because they were.
The New York Times reported in October that "the average midlevel Obamacare plan, the most popular choice, will cost about 22 percent more in 2017 than it did in 2016." Deductibles aren't faring much better either, leaving people to question what good it does to have health insurance in the first place. And then there are the effects Obamacare has imposed on the economy.
The employer mandate is discouraging small businesses form hiring full-time workers. The medical device tax is stifling innovation because it unfairly taxes revenue, not profits. Under the individual mandate, 8 million taxpayers paid roughly $1.7 billion in penalties in 2015.
For more than six years, Republicans have talked a big game about getting rid of Obamacare. We've taken our message from the floors of Congress to our hometowns thousands of miles away.
We've run for office on the promise of repeal. "Put me in, Coach," we said, and the American people gave us the chance to do good on our word time and again. Ever since President Obama signed the health care bill into law, Democrats have been on the defensive.
In the 2010 elections, Republicans wiped out the Democrat majority in the House of Representatives. The GOP has kept control of the House ever since and in 2014 gained the Senate. In this past election cycle, the voters gave the underdog Republican presidential nominee the keys to the White House.
Who knew that then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would be right when she said, "We'll have to pass the (Obamacare) bill so that you can find out what's in it."
Well, the bill was passed without one Republican vote, and now that the country knows what's in it, it has been rejected loud and clear. Because Republicans will control both the lawmaking and executive branches of our government, the time to put an end to Obamacare once and for all is now.
I want to reintroduce competition and put Americans in control of their own healthcare plans. This means I want folks to be able to shop for their insurance across state lines so they can find plans that suits them best. But I also want to make sure those with pre-existing conditions can get affordable coverage. People should not be denied health insurance, especially when they need it the most.
On Friday, I voted for the budget resolution that will clear the way to finally doing away with this failed law. While we are one step closer to a full repeal, we have a ways to go. The American people put us lawmakers in the game, and it's time for us to play ball.
Roger Williams is a Republican member of U.S. Congress representing Austin and vice chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade. Website: williams.house.gov