Letter: We have ‘moral obligation’ to repeal, replace health law

Mar 01, 2017

The U.S. Congress has prioritized the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2017.

Politicians who support ACA argue against repeal, claiming millions more people now have health coverage. Sadly, these same politicians fail to admit the cost of ACA is unsustainable and escalating for both the insured individual and the taxpayer. If nothing is done, ACA will implode.

The majority of people in the U.S. do not support ACA. In a 2016 Gallup poll, 30 percent interviewed said they were hurt by ACA while only 18 percent said they were helped.

ACA did not reduce premiums or deductibles as promised. Individual market premiums increased 99 percent for individuals and 140 percent for families from 2013-2017 (source: eHealth). Average deductibles on 2017 bronze plans for individuals are $6,092 and $12,383 for families (source: HealthPocket).

New taxpayer subsidies for the millions of newly insured (via ACA Medicaid expansion) are estimated to be $969 billion over the next decade.

Eighteen of the 23 non-profit health insurers created by ACA in 2014, using $2.4 billion in taxpayer-funded loans, have already collapsed. Only 11 state healthcare exchanges remain open after wasting $5 billion in federal funds. Millions lost their preferred health plans, and accessibility to doctors shrank.

Multiple inherent structural weaknesses built into ACA doomed it to failure from the day it became law. Insurance companies cannot contain costs when catastrophically ill individuals with pre-existing conditions can obtain health insurance after never paying into the pool as healthy individuals. Costs escalate as the healthcare industry complies with over 20,000 pages of statute and regulations. Premiums grow as the insured pay for mandated coverage they do not need. Young adults do not purchase insurance, because their premiums carry the higher cost of the elderly.

ACA mandates created massive cost increases and regulatory burdens that hindered competition, innovation and individual freedoms. Society now has a moral obligation to return healthcare to the private markets and to the control of the individual. With $20 trillion in national debt and over $100 trillion in “off the books,” unfunded government liabilities, we can no longer afford ACA.

Politicians who sit out the 2017 discussions to repeal and replace Obamacare are hurting those constituents they claim to want to help. We need to demand they repeal ACA and replace it with a system that removes government mandates, promotes competition, returns healthcare to the individual and re-establishes sustainable insurance standards.

 

Leslie A. Gregg
Mukilteo
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