- - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Earlier this week, the Affordable Care Act turned 5, and it has not been an easy road. Americans have been saddled with countless delays of key portions of the law, skyrocketing health care costs, complicated tax procedures, and don’t get me started on the Website.

In half a decade, one of the only successes Obamacare ever had was uniting the country against it. According to recent polls, approval for the law is as low as 37 percent. It’s no surprise that most Democrats that voted for the law stayed away from talking about the ACA on its birthday.

As the country turns away from President Obama’s signature legislation, the U.S. Supreme Court may be doing the same. Oral arguments were heard in early March in the case of King v. Burwell. This case will determine if the president’s administration overstepped its authority in providing taxpayer-funded subsidies to individuals that signed up for health insurance using the federal exchange.

A grand total of 37 states could be in jeopardy of losing the Obamacare subsidies they shouldn’t have had in the first place. A clear reading of the law shows states that didn’t setup their own exchange never should have qualified for the subsidies.

The ACA plainly states that individuals can qualify for subsidies if they purchase insurance through an exchange “established by the state.” Individuals in states like Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin and many others could face some dramatic hikes in health care costs – estimated at 256 percent – if the Supreme Court strikes down the subsidies in states with the federal exchange.

If the Obama administration is willing to admit it made a mistake with the law, individuals in federal exchange states may not have to worry.

Leaders in Congress, including Republican Reps. John Kline of Minnesota, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Fred Upton of Michigan, have come up with a plan to move away from Obamacare and toward a patient-centered approach that will lower the costs of health care and improve access for all.

They call their plan an “off ramp” from Obamacare. The proposal would reduce health care costs by eliminating the ACA’s burdensome mandates. It would allow individuals and families to purchase any plan they wanted, not just one hand-selected by Washington bureaucrats. And it would let Americans purchase insurance across state lines if they can find a better price.

These reforms would actually bring down the cost of health care, unlike the current law that masked colossal rate hikes with likely unconstitutional government subsidies.

To provide similar tax benefits that Americans currently get from receiving insurance through an employer, the off ramp would also provide tax credits to assist those that purchase coverage on their own.

Mr. Ryan has said this plan is needed to ensure individuals and families are not negatively impacted by the foolish actions of our president.

“No American should be penalized for the Obama administration’s blatant disregard for the law, and we feel that we have an obligation to offer an alternative – to show an off-ramp out of Obamacare – so that people can actually get affordable health insurance,” Mr. Ryan told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer in a recent interview.

“Here’s what Obamacare does: It takes away your ability to choose the plan that you want, it makes health insurance much, much more expensive, and then it takes money from hard-working taxpayers to subsidize it for some, leaving it more expensive for all, and that’s why we have to have an alternative.”

This alternative is patient-centered, and it will give people more health care choices, lower costs and better access to care.

Not only should members of Congress work with Messrs. Kline, Ryan and Upton on perfecting this plan, President Obama and his staff should seriously consider approving a plan that would truly reform our health care system because we simply cannot afford another five years under Obamacare.

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