CAPITOL REPORT

At a campaign rally on Monday, former President Bill Clinton stated, “You’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care, and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half and it’s the craziest thing in the world… But the people getting killed in this deal are the small business people and the individuals who make just a little bit too much to get any of these subsidies.”

Clinton is now trying to walk back from this comment, but the harsh reality is that he is right. Obamacare is a “crazy system” that has only made healthcare more bureaucratic and more expensive. Last week marked three years since the failed Obamacare exchanges opened for business and over the past three years Obamacare continues to drive up healthcare costs on millions of American families and limit their access to the healthcare providers of their choice.

As insurers across the country continue to exit states because they are struggling under the Affordable Care Act, people are being left to choose between a handful of costly plans that may not meet their specific needs. New reports now estimate that healthcare premiums in some places will experience double-digit rate increases next year. It is astounding just how much Obamacare is costing people across the nation. The average premium for individuals with job-based coverage increased by $3,755 even though President Obama promised that Obamacare would lower premiums for families.

Just this week, it was announced that when open enrollment in Obamacare starts next month, enrollees in four states will be able to choose plans from only one insurer. Individuals in 26 of the 30 counties which make up the 8th Congressional District of Missouri are predicted to only have one option for health insurance. In total, it is estimated that 85 percent of Missouri counties could only have one Obamacare marketplace insurer next year. Obamacare has failed to give individuals and families options in healthcare and instead has forced people to accept the only healthcare option available to them, despite the cost, with fear of facing a punitive tax if they don’t.

Another sign of Obamacare’s failure is the collapse of federally backed Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) programs across the country. Following the rollout of Obamacare three years ago, 23 CO-OPs were created using $1.7 billion in federal loans. Today 17 of those CO-OPs have collapsed, forcing nearly 800,000 Americans to find new healthcare coverage.

Looking ahead, in a desperate attempt to save his failing healthcare law, it was revealed that the Obama Administration is now attempting another illegal bailout to prop up Obamacare by paying health insurers billions of taxpayer dollars through an unauthorized Treasury Department account intended for other use. The Government Accountability Office issued a ruling last Thursday that this diversion of billions of dollars from the United States Treasury to insurers selling policies on the Affordable Care Act Exchanges are entirely unauthorized, inappropriate and potentially illegal.

With President Obama’s days left in office numbered, he will stop at nothing to revive his failing healthcare bill and his legacy. Americans deserve better than a healthcare system that puts government between them and their doctor. That is why I am supporting a Better Way plan to give Americans more patient-centered care and more healthcare choices, not more government bureaucracy and red tape. You should be in charge of your health options and should have the freedom and flexibility to choose the care that is best for you. You should not be excluded from having access to the best lifesaving treatments in the world because less and less providers want to participate in a failed government run program. Bill Clinton said it himself, Obama’s health care system is the “craziest thing in the world” and I remain committed to repealing it.

Jason Smith represents Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Contact him at 573-335-0101 or visit https://jasonsmith.house.gov

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