King v. Burwell Ruling Doesn’t End Our Fight for Real Health Care Reform | Commentary
On June 25, the Supreme Court ruled the IRS has the authority under the president’s health care law to financially support individuals purchasing health insurance through federally operated exchanges. The text of the Affordable Care Act, however, clearly states that subsidies were singularly intended for people who received insurance through a state owned and operated exchange. The court’s ruling is a familiar SCOTUS maneuver to yet again salvage Obamacare by rewriting the law.
As physicians who have collectively spent more than 70 years caring for patients, we know firsthand that the Affordable Care Act has changed health care in America — and not for the better. President Barack Obama’s oft-stated goals were to lower costs and expand access to care, but mounting evidence shows the law falls markedly short in both regards.
While the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell ruling is a political victory for the president, it is an unparalleled defeat for the rule of law, and another devastating blow for struggling families. Obamacare is still broken beyond repair — despite the high court’s reprieve. As premiums continue to rise and out-of-pocket costs limit families’ access to care, the only thing bipartisan about this law is its growing opposition.
In June, the Obama administration released health insurance premium rate requests for 2016. Neither of us were surprised to see many insurers have proposed double digit rate hikes, with a 36 percent increase in premiums expected in Tennessee and a median increase of 18 percent expected in Louisiana, with some plans increasing by as much as 55 percent. Most insurers pointed fingers at the rising cost of health care, prescription drugs and technology as culprits for these escalating costs.
Rather than drive the cost of health care down, Obamacare’s essential benefits package and insurance rating rules are driving the cost up. Despite the president’s promise to lower individual expenditures for care in this country, his signature law has only made a bad problem worse.
There is no shortage of Republican ideas to expand access to health insurance and lower the cost of health care. As co-chairmen of the GOP Doctors Caucus, we regularly meet with Republican colleagues, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals in Congress to discuss legislative approaches to advancing real health care reform in this country. Sadly, when the president and Democrats in Congress pushed through the Affordable Care Act in 2010, none of us were even asked about our experiences in the health care industry — despite our efforts to offer amendments and move toward bipartisan health care reform.
As families and employers struggle under the unsustainable burdens of Obamacare, Republicans must take their vision and ideas for health care reform to the American people. The president’s health care law is not the only option for health care reform. Both of us came to Congress, in part, to address a growing disease within the American health care system. Yet, neither of us were welcomed into the diagnostic or recovery phase.
We’ve seen how hard, bipartisan work can change health care for the better. Just this year, Republicans and Democrats united to change the way Medicare pays physicians, preserving access to Medicare for seniors. The same should happen with health care reform. A one-sided approach will only lead to another disaster like Obamacare, and the American people deserve better.
As co-chairmen of the Doctors Caucus, we will continue the fight to move away from Obamacare and toward a free-market, patient-centered health care system. The King v. Burwell decision doesn’t improve this broken health care law, and it doesn’t change our efforts to repeal and replace it.
Reps. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and John Fleming, R-La., are co-chairmen of the House GOP Doctors Caucus.