Let’s be honest. Obamacare was nothing more than a bait and switch. But Americans never took the bait.
In 2010, as President Obama and his fellow Democrats were trying desperately to ram Obamacare down our throats, they made one false claim after another. They told us health-care premiums would go down. They insisted if you liked your health-care plan you could keep it. They guaranteed Obamacare wouldn’t include any tax increases for the middle class. Americans didn’t buy these lofty promises then, and they certainly don’t now, given that each and every one of them has been broken.
We must repeal Obamacare in its entirety as soon as possible. But we can’t stop there. The president’s policies must be replaced with a plan that will send power back to the people and the states, fix the decades-old problems of rising medical-care and health-insurance costs, and support economic growth instead of punishing workers and small businesses. We must do all of this while ensuring affordable coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and removing the fear that something as simple as changing jobs could result in loss of coverage.
Next week, I will release a plan to replace Obamacare that accomplishes all of these goals, and addresses the following problems with the law:
Expanding health-care access and ensuring Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage are laudable goals. But Obamacare was the wrong approach to accomplishing them.
Fewer Options: Under Obamacare, millions of Americans lost their health-care coverage and are no longer able to see their preferred doctor or nurse. One analysis shows there are 42 percent fewer oncologists and cardiologists and 32 percent fewer primary-care doctors under Obamacare plans. My plan will result in more health-care options that fit the needs of patients.
Higher Coverage Costs: The Heritage Foundation has found that, from 2014 to 2015, average premiums in Ohio increased by approximately 11 percent. In Louisiana, premiums for young people increased by about 17 percent, and families in Kansas saw an increase of almost 14 percent. And we expect to see even higher premium increases in 2016 and beyond. Rather than out-of-control premium increases, my plan will actually make health care more affordable for everyone.
Mandates that Harm Workers, Businesses, and the Economy: Obamacare’s heavy-handed mandates have been a wet blanket on our country’s economic recovery, punishing workers and businesses. The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the law will reduce participation in the labor force by more than 2 million full-time-equivalent workers. Furthermore, in recent years, hundreds of thousands of workers may have seen their hours cut thanks to Obamacare’s destructive incentives. The most recent jobs report underscores the unfortunate reality that 6.3 million people who would prefer to be working full-time jobs are stuck in part-time jobs because their hours have been cut or they are unable to find a full-time job. My plan won’t use arbitrary federal rules to punish businesses and employees.
Unsustainable Spending: Every American should have access to their choice of affordable health insurance. But we can accomplish this without saddling taxpayers with a bill of nearly $2 trillion, which is what Obamacare costs. In 2009, before Obamacare became law, public polls showed that 80 percent of Americans were satisfied with the quality of their medical care. Despite this fact, Democrats did what they always do. They decided to use hard-earned taxpayer dollars to create a massive new federal program. My plan will streamline government and lower the burden on taxpayers, so they can keep more of their hard-earned money.
Waste, Fraud, and Abuse: Big-government programs like Obamacare are breeding grounds for waste, fraud, and abuse. Democrats in Washington have already squandered over $1 billion in grants to states for the creation of Obamacare exchanges that have been abandoned because they are unsustainable and unworkable. Additionally, the Government Accountability Office found it was easy to falsify information and fraudulently obtain subsidized coverage under Obamacare. My plan will be market- not government-driven, maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste.
Expanding health-care access and ensuring Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage are laudable goals. But Obamacare was the wrong approach to accomplishing them. It’s brought pain and problems to families, patients, and doctors as well as to small businesses and their employees.
There is a better way. That is why I will soon be releasing a plan to reverse every single destructive Obamacare policy and make health care more affordable and accessible for Americans across the country. Stay tuned.
— Scott Walker is the governor of Wisconsin.