Eight years ago, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stated that we would have to pass the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, in order to figure out what was in it. Thanks to that irresponsible logic, the American people were forced into a health-care system that is unable to keep the promises on which it was sold.
We all remember President Obama’s mantra that if you liked your doctor you would keep them, that premiums and deductibles would go down, that we would have more insurance choices and that Medicare would be protected at all costs. Fast forward to the end of President Barack Obama’s two terms and we find that people have lost their healthcare plans and their doctors. Deductibles and premiums have gone up, while our insurance choices have gone down. Hundreds of millions of dollars were taken from Medicare in order to fund Obamacare.
All these broken promises can only bring us to one conclusion: Obamacare has been a complete and total disaster, and it is time to repeal and replace the bill. If we do not act on the opportunity that we have been given, it is predicted that Obamacare will cost American tax payers more than $1 trillion over the course of the next several years. That’s a lot of money to be throwing at a failing healthcare system.
I have heard from folks across South Carolina about how the negative effects of Obamacare are harming their family. For example, Julie from Irmo was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. She had maintained health coverage for nearly three decades before her healthcare plan was terminated in December 2013. Her previous plan had been discontinued because of the constraints imposed by Obamacare. When she found coverage, she was denied expensive medications until she went through additional tests. By December 2014, Julia’s premiums had increased by 25 percent.
This is a personal issue to me because it has negatively impacted South Carolinians like Julie and families across the country. In the Palmetto State, insurance companies have fled the marketplace exchange, and many of our constituents are left with only one option for healthcare. At the same time, insurance premiums are predicted to rise an average of 28 percent from 2016 to 2017 — after double digit average increases the previous two years as well.
It is important we make sure there are safety nets in place for those who are unable to obtain coverage or those who lose coverage, and basically everyone agrees that those with pre-existing conditions should not be denied coverage. But instead of the government-driven system put in place by Obamacare, we need to make sure to do it in a way that makes sense and helps to build a patient-centric health-care system. Doctors and patients, not bureaucrats in Washington, must be in charge.
The only way to start this process is to repeal and replace Obamacare. President Donald J. Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare, and the U.S. House and Senate have already taken the first step towards repeal. Over the coming months we will continue working to fully repeal and replace Obamacare. This is our best option to bring about a cost-effective and competitive health-care system that is better equipped to cover individuals and their families. I will continue working every day to make sure every American has access to affordable, quality health care.
Tim Scott is a U.S. Senator from South Carolina and a Republican.