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Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s Weekly Column: October 21, 2016
A Lack of Competition in Obamacare Hurts Patients
By Congressman Bob Goodlatte
Washington, DC (Oct. 21, 2016) -

“It’s a crazy system.” That’s what Bill Clinton had to say about Obamacare recently. It’s not often that we agree on something, but I feel the same way as President Clinton and so do the millions of Americans facing higher health care costs and reduced access as a result of this seriously flawed law.

The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, has been on a rocky road since its botched rollout in 2013. Patients have not been able to keep their health care plans as President Obama promised. Premiums have risen, and folks who are still unable to purchase affordable health care are now being taxed as a result. Plus, a serious lack of competition in insurance marketplaces threatens to make purchasing affordable health care even less of a reality for many Americans.

According to a report by Bloomberg, in the next year 1.4 million people in 32 states are set to lose the health care plan they have now. Unfortunately, for many losing their plans, the choices available continue to grow smaller. In several states, major insurers, like UnitedHealth and Humana, have decided to stop selling individual insurance plans in the Obamacare marketplaces next year. In fact, it is now reported that four states, Alaska, Alabama, Wyoming, and Oklahoma, will have only one insurer offering plans for 2017. We all know that when choice narrows, it’s the consumer who often suffers. A lack of competition in the health insurance marketplace only serves to drive up the price of coverage – an unwelcome expense for any family on a budget.

Now, there are concerns that the Administration is planning to bailout insurers suffering financial losses because of this law. A lawsuit in federal court is seeking funds insurers claim are owed to them under Obamacare. However, Congress has previously passed two provisions into law that prevents the federal government from making these payments. Just a few days ago, House Republicans filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit before the federal courts outlining our opposition. Spending taxpayer money on a bailout of insurance companies is the wrong solution and directly violates the will of Congress.

You and your family deserve a health care system that works for you. I’ve raised concerns about Obamacare’s cost and impact on competition from the very beginning, voting against the original law and supporting several alternatives and reforms. The House’s “Better Way” agenda includes our ideas to create a health care system that improves every American’s access to the care they need. It’s time to replace Obamacare with true patient-driven solutions that open up competition and drive down health care costs.

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