Health Insurance: Chapter 1
Last week, the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to repeal Obamacare and start a health care reform process to return power to the states, drive down costs, and offer options to American families.
Letâ€™s review the current state of health insurance.
Across the country, costs have sky rocketed and choices have decreased.
In Iowa, 94 out of 99 counties will be left with literally zero insurance options on the Obamacare exchanges, when insurers pull out as they have announced. Itâ€™s the same situation for 16 counties in Tennessee.
In Arizona, the Obama Administration reported premiums increased 145% in Phoenix and 116% across the state in 2017.
Donâ€™t think it can happen here? Recently, Aetna announced they are pulling out of Virginia individual markets. Aetna said they â€ścould still lose more than $200 million in its individual market products this year. That's on top of the nearly $700 million it's lost in the three years after the exchanges opened in 2014.â€ť
CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield requested a 35% increase in Virginia customer rates.
More than 40% of Healthcare.gov (Obamacare) counties have only one insurer option.
In the words of Majority Leader McCarthy, you know what doesnâ€™t cover preexisting conditions? A health care system that doesnâ€™t have coverage. No options means no coverage.
Democrats blame Republicans. But there is no way Donald Trump and the Republicans are responsible for these results.
In Bristol in 2008, Obama claimed typical families would save $2,500 a year in health care. Now, Nancy Pelosi and others who claimed or defended that promise, along with â€śIf you like your plan, you can keep your plan,â€ť are whipping up hysteria over hypothetical, alarming stories about the Republican health care plan.
The Democratsâ€™ claims werenâ€™t true then and they arenâ€™t true now.
Iâ€™ve heard stories from Ninth District residents who struggle to pay increased premiums and are still faced with deductibles they canâ€™t afford, forcing them to sell off assets.
Democratsâ€™ claim the disabled wonâ€™t receive care and preexisting conditions wonâ€™t be covered.
That is just not true.
The idea that a rape victim, asthmatic, or child born with a severe health issue will be uninsured is blatantly false.
Democratsâ€™ claims are so outrageous, even the Washington Post fact check gave 4/4 Pinocchios to one of the Democrats accusations. Thatâ€™s a whopper.
Democrats also claim Republicans didnâ€™t allow time to read the bill. We didnâ€™t put a 2,000 page bill on the floor like Obamacare. I pointed out on the House floor, our base bill was 130 pages, available to read since March. The MacArthur Amendment was around 8 pages, the McSally Bill was less than 1 ÂĽ page, and the Upton amendment, offered the day before the vote, was only 2 pages. As I said, they could have read the text during the time it was being debated. But it appeared to me, the Democrats were more interested in scaring the American public than understanding the bill.
According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an average of 10.4 million consumers paid premiums and had an active policy through the Obamacare marketplaces for the first half of 2016.
However, 19 million Americans either paid the IRS penalty or claimed an exemption.
That means more people rejected insurance under Obamacare than people who gained insurance.
Heritage Foundation reported, the average deductible for a family on a bronze plan is $12,393 and the average nationwide premium increase for individuals is 99 percent and 140 percent for families from 2013-2017. While I havenâ€™t heard of deductibles that high here, I have spoken with a number of families with a $10,000 deductible.
In 2016, there were almost 30 million Americans still uninsured.
Is anyone really going to try and argue the costs and chaos of Obamacare were worth it for the increased premiums and deductibles, lack of choice, and significantly less expansion of coverage than forecasted?
Massive, one size fits all programs from Washington most often prove to be ineffective, wasteful, and expensive. Health insurance included.
The health insurance system wonâ€™t be fixed overnight.
Even if the Senate passed some form of the AHCA tomorrow, the benefits will not be seen next year. Insurers are already setting their rates for 2018 under Obamacare, and most likely will set 2019 rates before reforms can be enacted.
But the AHCA is the first step in getting Washington out of your health care, providing more choices, and lowering costs.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.