Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

The more we learn, the less we like about Obamacare

March 19, 2013
Op-Ed

Houston Community Newspapers

OLSON: The more we learn, the less we like about Obamacare

Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013 1:55 pm

By Rep. Pete Olson

In 2010, despite the opposition of a majority of Americans, a Democrat-controlled Congress passed an enormous makeover of our healthcare system. The President signed what would be called Obamacare into law. This massive mandate on American individuals and businesses was rammed through Congress and signed into law without a single Republican vote. Americans should have access to quality, affordable healthcare. However, Obamacare is not the solution. President Obama promised lower costs and better quality healthcare, yet we are seeing the opposite take effect.

In 2008, then-candidate Obama said, “If you've got health insurance, we're going to work with you to lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year.” In fact, many premiums have already risen by as much as $3000. An economist who consulted the administration on Obamacare said premiums will continue to rise by as much as 19-31%. The law forces health insurers to pay for new benefits, adding billions in new fees. These new fees mean higher premium rates for some customers by double digits. Reports indicate that premiums will increase up to $2,800 for individuals and $5,000 for families over the next decade. President Obama promised that his new healthcare law will allow Americans to keep their current healthcare plan if they choose to. He repeatedly stated that if individuals like their healthcare plan, they can keep it and their doctors. However, the Obama administration’s own estimates show that up to 80% of small businesses and 64% of large businesses may be forced to give up their current plans within three years. The law’s excessive new regulations are projected to force small companies to either buy more expensive plans or eliminate their current health coverage, forcing employees onto government run health exchanges.

The tax on insurers and the regulations on healthcare plans will be passed on as a cost to consumers as well as employers, hurting small businesses, job creation, and the health of our economy. Companies will have to adjust to cope with the added cost of insuring their employees. The National Federation of Independent Business reports that the health insurance tax will cost up to 250,000 jobs over the next 8 years, with a projected 6,000 Texans losing their jobs thanks to Obamacare. Small businesses will account for 59% of American job losses. This law hurts small businesses by destroying jobs, and increasing costs for consumers. This isn't the kind of healthcare reforms Americans want, nor is it what the President promised. Even more troubling, the majority of the law’s provisions will not even be implemented until next year. And we are still trying to gauge the impact on the availability and quality of medical professionals in the future as many leave the profession or decide to pursue other careers because of the burdens of Obamacare. While the news grows worse by the day, the worst is still to come.

My colleagues and I have offered alternatives to this plan. Republicans have passed legislation and proposed solutions to increase the number of Americans with access to healthcare, while allowing those who are satisfied with their coverage to keep it. We need reforms that don’t stifle small business growth or job creation. Better access to quality care for all Americans can be achieved by limiting the effects of Obamacare and ensuring that individuals with pre-existing conditions receive access to affordable care. Congress will continue to aggressively investigate how this law is implemented and repeal as much of it as possible with an opposition Senate. The House recently passed legislation that reduces funding for two of the main agencies in charge of implementing Obamacare: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and the Internal Revenue Service. Lowering the amount of money these departments receive will help delay Obamacare from going into full effect and gives Congress the time to address the law’s mandatory spending, which makes up a large bulk of its expensive national price tag. House Republicans will continue to work on improvements to our healthcare system that ensures access to affordable care by the doctor of your choice. The Senate and White House should join us in that effort.

Olson represents the 22nd District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district encompasses all or part of Brazoria, Fort Bend and Harris Counties.

Issues: