A Health Care System That Works for South Dakotans – By U.S.Senator John Thune
January, 13 2017
WASHINGTON – The Republican-led Congress heard the American people loud and clear on Obamacare. The law is broken beyond repair, and Americans are looking for a better, more patient-centered approach. According to a recent poll, eighty percent of Americans want to see the law substantially changed or repealed and replaced entirely. In South Dakota alone, I’ve heard from hundreds of people who have been negatively affected by Obamacare, and it is heart wrenching to read some of their stories.
One person in particular told me the premium for his family’s health insurance spiked by 357 percent this year. Stories like this one are why South Dakotans are upset and why they feel let down by a political party in Washington that sold them a lemon of a health care system. Obamacare was supposed to drive down costs, but premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed. It was supposed to increase choices, but some Americans have been relegated to a single option for coverage. That’s not choice, and it’s not affordable either.
The law isn’t working, and the sooner my Democrat colleagues accept that reality, the sooner we can move toward a health care system that actually works for the American people. Democrats have been so focused on the number of people they claim have signed up for Obamacare that they forget about the millions of Americans who lost the coverage they had and liked before the president signed the bill in the first place. They also forget that when it comes to Obamacare, “coverage” and “affordability” aren’t exactly synonymous. The deductibles for some plans are so high that it’s hard to even call it coverage at all.
That’s why Republicans have for years pledged that when we had majorities in both houses of Congress and a willing partner in the White House, we would repeal this failed law once and for all and replace it with common-sense reforms that put the American people first. Congress has already taken some important first steps that have laid the groundwork to fully and finally repeal and replace Obamacare, but there’s more work ahead.
It’s important to know that when we send a repeal bill to President Trump, we won’t be pulling the rug out from under the American people. Our plan will include a transition period to protect Americans with existing Obamacare coverage from being left high and dry. While we’re still determining how long that transition period should be, Republicans are unified in our goal to repeal Obamacare, which is why we’re using it as a starting point.
When it comes to replacing Obamacare, you’re not going to see Republicans roll out a massive government-knows-best bill that takes over the nation’s health care system. Democrats tried that with Obamacare, and it failed miserably. Republicans will work toward replacing Obamacare with step-by-step reforms that actually lower costs and increase access to care. It’s what the American people deserve and have been asking for, and I hope Democrats join us in working toward this important goal as well.