Rescuing America’s health care system

By Rep. Dan Newhouse

Repealing and replacing Obamacare is necessary to prevent Americans from suffering the consequences of this failed and unraveling law. Promises of affordability and lower premiums have turned into the reality of diminishing choices, rising prices, and less competition. Replacement must allow more affordable, more personalized health options. Replacing Obamacare has become a rescue mission to provide relief for American families.

I recently had constituents reach out to me to explain that the situation they face because of this law is unsustainable for their family, whose plan has a $7,000 deductible despite the cost of $950 per month for health insurance. While technically “insured,” this kind of phantom insurance is simply not affordable. Annual out-of-pocket costs for families under this law have skyrocketed from $3,700 in 2014 to $4,300 in 2016. What kind of a choice is that?

In Washington, we have already seen major insurers fleeing the state exchange, leaving fewer options and higher premiums. Some have benefitted from the law, but at the cost of canceled plans for others and an increasingly unstable marketplace. While it will not be easy to undo the damage of this law, we must take the time and a step-by-step approach to transition smoothly to a better system.

Our goal with repeal is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable insurance that fits their individual needs instead of government mandates. That means guaranteeing access for the most vulnerable people, including those with preexisting conditions. Republicans are working on a plan to allow health savings accounts, fund high-risk pools, and provide a universal tax credit to assist low-income households to purchase health insurance. Tax credits would also be available for dependents up to the age of 26.

I have heard from many constituents who are concerned about preexisting conditions when the law is replaced, which is why I cosponsored H.R.1121, The Pre-existing Conditions Protection Act of 2017. In replacing Obamacare, we will continue to protect the most vulnerable.

The highly-regulated system under this health law is destabilizing before our eyes, leaving Americans at risk. Obamacare is failing, and we must transition to a system that increases affordable choices for all Americans.


Dan Newhouse is a representative in the 4th Congressional District of Washington.