Duffy Op-Ed: 2 years later, long past time to repeal and replace Obamacare

Mar 23, 2012Columns

By Rep. Sean Duffy

It was two years ago when Congressional Democrats and President Obama rammed through Congress the nearly trillion dollar Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). At more than 2,000 pages and crafted without any meaningful attempt to incorporate Republican ideas, “Obamacare” was a monstrosity of a bill and a testament to what Americans seem to despise most about Congress: an arrogance that Washington knows what’s best for you.

It’s quite clear that this legislation has failed to deliver on many of its promises.

Despite the President’s initial claims that it would reduce costs, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now projects this law will cost $1.76 trillion over the next 10 years. The bill imposes $525 billion in new taxes and penalties on American families and small businesses, and includes nearly $43 billion in new Medicaid costs to states while cutting $500 billion from our seniors’ Medicare. And on March 15th, the CBO reported that as many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-provided health care coverage as a result of this misguided law.

In the summer of 2009, when he was pushing for passage of the bill, President Obama promised “if you like your health-care plan, you'll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” Yet his law is doing the exact opposite, making it more expensive for Americans to have coverage and harder for people to keep the coverage they like.

Yet even with 56 percent of Americans saying in the latest Rasmussen Reports poll that they favor repeal of Obamacare, doing away with health reform without having anything to replace it with isn’t acceptable either, given health care premiums for the average family have already increased by $1,200 a year after the law was enacted. As I said when I ran for this seat, I would work to either “reform the reform” or “repeal and replace” this law and I would urge any discussion about replacing it to start with the health reform legislation I introduced last year.

My bill, H.R. 3682, stands in stark contrast to the President's plan, which heaped on every American Washington mandates that reduce access to care and make it more expensive.  I believe we can make health care affordable again by using market reforms, such as allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines, ending junk lawsuits, allowing small businesses to pool together to offer health insurance, and empowering patients with meaningful data on cost and quality so they are better equipped to make good decisions about their health care. My plan, like the President’s, also covers individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. But best of all, CBO has scored provisions similar to those included in my bill as savings for both the average family and the federal government.

True health care reform isn’t a one party problem, and it shouldn’t be a one party solution. Let’s hope that, two years from now, everyone is celebrating real changes we’ve made to health care reform rather than bemoaning the massively expensive one-size-fits-all approach of Obamacare.