Obamacare's Impact on the 3rd District
Obamacare has failed to deliver on its promises of affordable health care for Americans. We've seen the facts to back this up - more than 1,000 U.S. counties have only one insurance provider to choose from, and the whole state of Kansas only has two. Kansans can expect premiums to increase by 42% this year, and deductibles have increased seven times faster than wages in recent years.
We need a better plan for our nation's healthcare - one that focuses on giving patients more choices and increases competition in health care markets. The replacement for Obamacare also needs to preserve important protections for people with pre-existing conditions and provide financial help to our most vulnerable citizens. However, these goals can be achieved while still allowing everyone the freedom to choose whether they purchase cover and how they do it.
In May, I joined a majority of my House colleagues in voting to pass the American Health Care Act, legislation that would repeal the most harmful elements of Obamacare and instead choose markets over mandates, innovation over regulation and patients over bureaucrats. I wrote about the bill and what it means for our health care system in a guest column for the Kansas City Star. I encourage you to check it out by clicking here.
When we are debating health care, sometimes we tend to reducing the issues caused by Obamacare to a set of numbers, which can diminish the true human impact of the challenges we are facing. For years, I have been hearing from constituents who are frustrated by the way Obamacare has hurt their healthcare access and affordability. Recently, I interviewed constituents to hear their thoughts on Obamacare. This is what they said:
Bob C., Overland Park
"I am single, no dependents looking for an HSA plan on healthcare.gov. For 2016 this plan cost me $375.70 a month. For 2017 it will cost $700.33. This is an 86% increase. I cannot afford this. The ACA might be providing coverage to low income people but will be causing middle income people to go without insurance. I have never really found myself negatively affected by the federal government in a direct way before this."
Jeff H., Shawnee
“I am a 53 year old retired police officer. I am also trying to develop my own small business to supplement my retirement income. In 2013, I purchased high deductible HSA health insurance for me, my wife, and our daughter at what appeared to be a reasonable $437.00 per month. Fast forward just 3 years, and I am now paying $1,275.00 per month for the same plan. So, in order to pay my premiums and fund my HSA, I am paying $1,896.00 per month. That's $22,752.00 per year, or, 36% of what used to be a pretty good retirement income
Aaron K., Overland Park
"I currently do not have insurance, because frankly, I cannot afford it. I am a substitute teacher and am not offered benefits. I am currently looking for full time employment, but have not been able to find it, yet. The Affordable Care Act plans offered me are too expensive and the deductibles are too high. So, that leaves me paying the tax penalty, which is becoming increasingly more difficult to do."
Randall C., Self-Employed
"I am self-employed and have health insurance from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, obtained through the Obamacare Exchange. They are asking me to renew, but the premium, just for me, is going up to $8200 per year with a $6800 deductible."
Kim Q., Self-Employed
"I was perfectly happy with my HSA plan before Obamacare passed. I had a $188/month premium, which is now $392/month. Deductible went from $792 to $6500."
Steven and Kim B., Olathe small business owner
"I own a small business and have purchased health insurance on the open market for years. In the past I could tailor my wife and I coverage to fit our personal needs. I always had several choices between insurance companies and with the ability to customize my coverage benefits and deductibles. We have received notice from our insurance company that they are pulling out of the market in Kansas and we will be forced to purchase insurance elsewhere. Unfortunately there are only a few companies and plans to choose from, and the best deal we can get is almost three times more expensive than our old plan.
Tammy S., Overland Park small business owner
"I am a single mom trying to run a small business in Overland Park. The cost of health insurance is destroying the economy. I cannot afford to provide health insurance for my employees and my own insurance for 2017 will be almost 3.5 times what it was just 3 years ago (pre Obamacare)."
Robert J., Overland Park small business owner
"The American Dream has changed. I work 70 hours a week, but cannot afford health insurance. I just had knee surgery, but had to know choice but to go straight back to work."
Hugh O., local small business owner
"The 30-hour workweek under Obamacare is hurting my business. I can't find enough workers, and I have to pay an outside firm to manage my employees' benefits."
Jason P., local small business owner
"I have to pay an extra $50,000/year on new software to manage employee health benefits. There are many montly underlying costs for my business due to Obamacare."