- - Thursday, January 5, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Republicans have promised, with the start of the new Congress, to begin repealing Obamacare.

Families across America have been harmed by the failed health care law. People were forced onto Obamacare when their previous insurance was canceled. Their premiums have gone up every year under the law. Higher deductibles are costing them thousands of dollars. Coverage has gotten worse. Nothing in Obamacare will ever change this trend.

Americans have been through too much disruption in their health care already. Republicans will stop the damage being done by the health care law, provide a smooth transition, and give people access to the care that they’ve been asking for all along.

President Obama vetoed legislation that would have repealed the law in 2016. President Trump will sign it in 2017.

We need to act soon or premiums will continue to soar under Obamacare. In just a few months, health insurance companies will start filing their proposed rate increases for 2018. As deductibles and premiums rise together, more people will end up with expensive insurance they can never use.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Americans in one-third of the country are forced to buy from a single Obamacare insurer. With Obamacare there is no longer an insurance marketplace, it’s turned into a monopoly.

Nothing in the health care law will improve this situation. The double threat of mandates and restrictions makes Obamacare unsustainable without huge — and illegal — taxpayer bailouts.

No one-size-fits-all solution imposed by Washington can create the competition we need to bring down costs. People should be free to buy the coverage that meets their needs. They shouldn’t have to pay for more than they want or settle for less than they need. If that means shopping for coverage from another state, they should have that option.

Families should also have more flexibility to use health savings accounts, which put resources directly into the hands of the patients. That’s one of the ways to make sure people can afford health care and aren’t just stuck with unusable insurance coverage.

The health care law also imposed about a trillion dollars in taxes over 10 years. These include higher taxes paid by people who have chronic medical conditions and those who buy prescription drugs. As time goes on, more people will be stuck paying higher taxes unless we repeal Obamacare.

One of the first things Republicans in Congress will target is the mandate that people buy insurance or face big fines. We’ll roll back the taxes that hurt working families and that keep businesses from hiring and growing.

Nobody should underestimate the difficulty of what we are trying to do. It took more than six years of Washington malpractice to get us into this Obamacare mess. It will take a couple of years to complete the job of getting us out of it. Doing the job right safely is more important than doing it wrong quickly.

The size of the problem makes it even more urgent that we begin right away. The alternative — to break our promise to the American people and do nothing to help them — is unacceptable.

If the health care law continues, hardworking families all across America will have fewer choices, higher premiums, and less control. That’s exactly the tragedy we are fighting so hard to prevent.

John Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon, is a U.S. senator from Wyoming.

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