No, Obamacare failing is not the GOP’s fault

Communications • July 5, 2017

Since Obamacare was passed, House Republicans have been on a rescue mission.

This 2,000+ page bill has been a nightmare. For seven years, Americans have seen broken promises, higher costs, and fewer choices.This unified Republican government has been hard at work to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a health care system that puts people — not bureaucrats — at the center.

Today, we dive a little deeper into the flawed argument that Obamacare is failing because Republicans are making it fail.

Woah! Slow down there, WaPo.

Obamacare has been around — in some form — since Democrats created, passed, and made it law in 2010 and it’s been a policy train wreck since day one.

Because Arizona and Oklahoma are two of the states hardest hit by Obamacare, we asked Reps Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Tom Cole (R-OK), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), and Steve Russell (R-OK) to help us recap SEVEN years of failure — seven years of harming Arizonans, Oklahomans, and people across this country.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

THERE WAS THAT ROLLOUT…

Picture it: America. October 2013. Obamacare’s website, HealthCare.gov, is ready for its long-awaited unveiling.

That big moment…ended in a pathetic whimper.

To say it was “glitchy” is an understatement. Users like Jon Tucci from West Virginia, spent hours on the website only to ultimately be unable to purchase a plan.

The Obama administration blamed it on “unexpected high traffic,” but with a cost of nearly $1.7 billion and more than three years to design it, this was no excuse. The real problems? Inadequate testing, unrealistic requirements, and bad management.

Those who were able to get through faced other problems. There was the 2014 hacker breach, and then in 2015 an HHS audit found 135 database vulnerabilities, 22 of which were classified as “high risk.” No worries. After all, HealthCare.gov and MIDAS don’t store medical records — just names, Social Security numbers, addresses, passport numbers, and financial and employment info. No big deal, right? WRONG!

Problems weren’t limited to just HealthCare.gov. Over in Oregon, more than $300 million in federal grant funds were used on a site that no one was able to use. Everyone at the time had to sign up using paper applications. But hey, at least they had cute ads.

DELAY, DELAY, DELAY

Even putting aside how much damage Obamacare has caused, a huge red flag came before the mandates were implemented, because there were so many delays!

By February 2014, former President Obama had unilaterally changed or delayed Obamacare 24 times.

He delayed enforcement of the employer mandate, for example, and then there was the politically-convenient delay in compliant plans.

After then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said there would be no more delays, there was also the delay in the executive benefits equal coverage rule.

THE LIE OF THE YEAR

In 2013, after the administration choked their way through the glitchy website rollout, Americans got a rude awakening. Five million plans — those plans people liked and wanted to keep — were being cancelled because they didn’t meet the standards set by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

The administration tried to do damage control, saying how fortunate these people were to have new plans that offer so many great services.

We’re sure that was a GREAT comfort to the families now spending significantly more for services they didn’t want and didn’t need. Like the LDS families paying for alcohol rehabilitation coverage and the middle aged men paying for maternity care.

BREAKING THE BANK

Health care prices didn’t magically start going up when President Trump was sworn in, as much as Obamacare supporters wish that were true. They’ve been rising for years.

An HHS report from earlier this year found that on average premiums have gone up 105 percent in the individual market since 2013. That same report found that average premiums in Oklahoma have increased by a whopping 201% since 2013, meaning they have tripled in just four years.

For this year alone, Arizona premiums in the individual marketplace went up 116 percent. We repeat — 116 percent!!

Deductibles have been steadily increasing, too. Back in 2015, the New York Times published an article about Obamacare’s high deductibles making many Americans’ health insurance all but useless. If a family can’t afford to see a doctor even after buying expensive, all-inclusive health insurance, that is NOT affordable health care.

Repeat after us: coverage does not equal access.

SPEAKING OF COVERAGE…

One of the biggest problems with Obamacare seven years in is the lack of coverage options.

In 2015, UnitedHealth Group announced it was pulling back its exchange efforts for 2016, and in 2017 left altogether. In the middle of 2016, Aetna announced it was going to pull out of most Obamacare exchanges. 83 insurers left the Obamacare marketplace in 2017. And of course, Anthem is the latest, pulling out of Midwest exchanges for 2018.

Currently one-third of all counties in the United States have only ONE choice in health care providers. If current projections hold true, this will rise to 41 percent of counties and there will even be several with ZERO.

Let’s put this in perspective:

In Oklahoma, people living in rural areas face major challenges with the lack of coverage options. A small, rural town has maybe a handful of doctors. If those doctors aren’t in that particular provider’s network, the people who live there have to go to another town to seek health care — that could be miles away! Without making significant reforms, doctors who practice in rural areas will lose their patients, and will eventually have to leave those communities.

Even Politico recognized Obamacare’s internal structural failures, concluding “an Arizona county is poised to become an Obamacare ghost town because no insurer wants to sell exchange plans there.”  

The popular narrative today is that all of these coverage problems are a result of “uncertainty” caused by a Republican-led government working to repeal Obamacare. But with several years of insurers leaving, this argument is clearly nonsense. This was a problem long before President Trump was sworn into office.

Obamacare is failing because it’s bad policy. Always has been. Always will be.

Don’t let anyone tell you Obamacare’s failures were caused by Republicans. We want health care that is affordable and accessible — and that’s not possible with a poorly designed, government-run model like Obamacare.

We envision a better health care future for all Americans, and that starts with putting the people back in control.