The Time to Repeal Obamacare Is Now

WASHINGTON, DC:

For the last six years, Americans have endured extraordinary hardship under Obamacare, a thousand-page law of broken promises and failed policies. Sadly, millions of families and individuals have had their insurance plans cancelled and access to their doctors and drugs limited. And they have lacked affordable insurance options. Those Americans who are stuck with Obamacare are facing skyrocketing premiums, soaring deductibles, and shrinking health care networks. Tragically, many of our most vulnerable citizens, who were participating in safety-net health programs long before implementation of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, must now wait interminably to see overwhelmed health care providers — and some of those people die while they wait. It is true, of course, that some people have benefitted from the President’s law, but given the money spent, it would be extraordinary if there had been no benefit at all.

Since 2010, Republicans have promised comprehensive relief from Obamacare by fully repealing it. In December of 2015, they took a significant step towards the goal of full repeal by passing legislation through the budget reconciliation process that would have repealed Obamacare’s most significant provisions. A Republican Congress demonstrated that the same process used by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to pass Obamacare could be used to repeal it. Although it was clear from the outset that President Obama would veto the measure, the effort demonstrated that repeal is achievable and laid the groundwork for a more comprehensive repeal bill once a Republican president occupied the White House.

The conservative movement calls on Congress to deliver on the mandate the American people gave them this November to repeal Obamacare completely. If Senator McConnell determines that the Senate majority cannot repeal the entire law through reconciliation because of questionable Senate rules and precedents, he should fight to repeal as much of the law as possible. Specifically, although last year’s reconciliation fight was a crucial first step, that legislation would have left intact Obamacare’s crushing insurance regulations. Those rules require all insurance plans to offer a standardized set of benefits constructed and mandated by Washington, and they include a number of actuarial standards and requirements that dramatically increase prices and limit access to health care. Those rules are the primary reason that President Obama’s promise that people could keep their doctors and have lower premiums was never realized.

The importance of eliminating Obamacare’s insurance mandates cannot be overstated. Although the Senate did not, last December, adjudicate whether the repeal of such measures could be included in reconciliation legislation, there is precedent for doing so as is evidenced by the 1996 welfare reform bill. Moreover, the Obamacare insurance rules cannot be surgically removed from the law’s essential and underlying structure, a fact even the Obama administration admitted during the King v. Burwell oral arguments.

If Congress cannot repeal the insurance regulations via reconciliation, it should minimize the penalties for selling non-compliant plans, empowering the administration and the states to create an escape for millions of Americans struggling under the burdens of Obamacare’s insurance regulations.

As Republicans across the country campaigned in 2016, they explicitly promised full repeal of Obamacare, and Americans, hearing their promises, elected them. Now that Republicans have won control of both houses of congress and the White House, they must keep their promise.

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