One of the country’s largest health insurers, Aetna, announced last week it will stop selling individual plans on Obamacare exchanges in 11 states, including North Carolina. This news comes on the heels of similar announcements made by major health insurers UnitedHealth Group and Humana, both of which are pulling back their Obamacare individual market presence as well.
In states where insurers are still participating in Obamacare, many are raising premiums again, set to take effect this fall. Thousands of North Carolinians who currently are insured by Aetna through Obamacare exchanges will lose their health plan in 2017.
From the iron-fisted legislative tactics used to pass Obamacare, to the botched website rollout, to the millions of Americans who lost their health plan when the law was implemented, Obamacare has been a disaster every step of the way.
This is what happens when government attempts to create its own marketplace — businesses don’t show up to sell products. Pinal County in Arizona, for example, will now have zero insurers offering exchange plans in 2017. Before any North Carolinians face the same situation, we need to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a market-driven plan offered by House Republicans.
Unfortunately, many Democrats seem unwilling to face the fact that Obamacare is not working for consumers who are facing fewer choices and higher costs. Fewer choices lead to worse health-care outcomes for patients. Higher costs mean less money for hardworking American families, and every dollar spent on health-care premiums is one less dollar Americans could spend on other goods or services, which would have the added benefit of stimulating our sluggish economy.
Through last year’s Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, Congress put an Obamacare repeal on the president’s desk, which I co-sponsored. President Obama vetoed the legislation. Furthermore, Republicans successfully eliminated the insurance industry slush fund, known as the risk corridor program.
But simply repealing the law isn’t enough. Health care was broken before Obamacare, which is why our House Republican plan provides market-driven reforms for Americans to obtain quality health care at an affordable price. When drafting our Obamacare replacement plan, we kept four guiding principles in mind: more choices and lower costs; real protections and peace of mind; cutting-edge cures and treatments; and strengthening Medicare.
In just six years following implementation, Obamacare is collapsing under its own weight. Obamacare was created with a failed business model that was not going to be financially sustainable, as it largely depends on young people participating to offset an aging population with high health-care costs. Only competitive markets can provide lower costs and better services. Placing government as the arbiter for health insurance lacks the dynamics of open free markets, but the House Republican alternative would allow free market principles to give patients more choices and lower costs, while providing real protection and peace of mind.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal revealed the Obama Administration secretly airlifted $400 million in cash to Iran, coinciding with the release of four American prisoners. Last week a State Department spokesman confirmed the U.S. withheld the delivery of the cash as leverage until Iran permitted the Americans to leave the country.
The evidence of the $400 million payment to Iran in exchange for hostages was too obvious for the State Department to continue their subterfuge to the American people. The Obama-Clinton legacy of duplicity and deception, as they have appeased our adversaries, has left the American people and our soldiers at grave risk.
Robert Pittenger, a Republican from Charlotte, represents the 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes all of Robeson County.