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GREGG HARPER — Obamacare is officially on life support

GREGG HARPER

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” President Obama made those promises on multiple occasions while trying to sell the Affordable Care Act to the American people. We now know that neither of these statements turned out to be true. Obamacare has done the opposite of what the president promised when he said, “You’ll find more choices, more competition, and in many cases, lower prices.” What we are seeing across the country is fewer choices, less competition, and skyrocketing premiums. But the full story of Obamacare is more than a string of broken promises — the onerous rules and regulations are causing the law to collapse under its own weight. The simple truth is that it is hurting more people than it is helping. Just two months ago, 8 in 10 Americans told Gallup they want Obamacare either significantly changed or replaced altogether.

By sending decision-making authority to Washington and attempting to create a one-size-fits-all approach, Democrats took us down the wrong path. The law has resulted in restricted provider networks which decrease access to care in areas where it is needed most. President Obama’s broken promise about keeping your health care plan has put thousands of Mississippians in jeopardy of losing their health insurance.

Millions of others are facing the difficult decision of going without insurance because the alternative is simply unaffordable. In Arizona, premium increases have risen by an average of 116 percent. In Oklahoma, it is 69 percent and in Pennsylvania, it is 53 percent. These families desperately need relief from the harm inflicted upon them by a failing, unsustainable law. Obamaare is collapsing under its own weight. The United States is far too large and diverse to have its health system driven by a federal agency run by bureaucrats in Washington.

Republicans have been given the opportunity by voters to improve the lives of every American by reforming our broken healthcare system. What is needed are market-oriented reforms that promote competition, choice and portability. This means promoting policies that expand choice through consumer-directed care, purchasing coverage across state lines, and preserving employee wellness programs, among others. A Republican plan should also include continuous-coverage protections as well as pre-existing conditions protection. This framework will allow patients to pick an insurance plan tailored to their needs without paying for unwanted services mandated by Washington. These policies are designed to incentivize people to get and stay insured, not to punish them for deciding not to enroll in an unaffordable plan.

The health-care reform discussion has led to contentious, and sometimes nasty disagreement, but the law has failed to live up to its promises. It is time to repeal and replace Obamacare with a 21st Century health care system that works for all Americans. Over the next weeks and months, I intend to advocate for policies which I believe will help the citizens of Mississippi’s Third District. Republicans in Congress believe there is a Better Way to deal with the issues facing our country.

» U.S. Congressman Gregg Harper, represents Mississippi’s 3rd District and is chairman of the Committee on House Administration.

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