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Iowa Senators Grassley and Ernst blast looming Obamacare rate increases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reports that consumers will face massive health insurance rate increases under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) raised the ire of Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.

Sen. Chuck Grassley says he continues to work to reverse the “negative effects” of Obamacare with the goal of replacing the entire “flawed” law. He is working toward passage of his bipartisan legislation, the Small Business Health Care Relief Act, that would allow small businesses to resume helping their employees buy individual health insurance, something disrupted by Obamacare. Grassley has voted several times to repeal Obamacare. In December 2015, Grassley voted in favor of a bill to repeal much of Obamacare. Congress passed the measure, but President Obama vetoed it. Grassley made the following comment on the confirmation from the Obama Administration that, according to the Associated Press, “Premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama’s health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer.”

Charles Grassley
Charles Grassley
“This is all contrary to the many promises made about Obamacare. People were told their premiums would go down, and that if they liked their doctor, hospital or health care plan, they could keep all of it. The reality is much different. More than half of the country will have two or fewer insurance plans to choose from on Obamacare exchanges. Some regions may have no insurance plans available. Millions of people have to change their insurance policies this year. Even those who were strong supporters of the health care law, like the Minnesota governor, have said Obamacare ‘is no longer affordable to many Americans.’ Iowans who want to join the health care law’s exchanges have had fewer options every year. For 2017, Iowans in 13 rural counties who want to take part will have just one health insurance plan participating in their area. Statewide, premium increases for participants will be 19 percent to 43 percent. Many individuals could be priced out of the market.

“The Obama Administration argues that subsidies make the double-digit premium increases less painful for consumers, but the process for calculating the subsidies is complicated and unreliable. It’s hard for people to know whether they can count on a subsidy. Even with the subsidies, if they can’t afford co-payments and deductibles, they’ll have trouble using their coverage. Without addressing what causes health care expenses to increase, Obamacare can only shift costs. Meanwhile, the only suggestions the Obama Administration has offered to keep the experiment going is to severely cut health care delivery in certain areas, including durable medical equipment and the Medicare Part B demonstration project, to save money. Both of these steps would limit access to medical care, especially for people in rural areas. Driving many more miles to get your oxygen tank refilled is not a good option. Being forced to use a certain type of diabetes testing strip instead of the one you’ve been using that works for you is not the best way to manage diabetes.

“People deserve better results. Good places to start would be cracking down on frivolous lawsuits, letting people purchase insurance across state lines, improving transparency in health care prices, giving states more freedom to improve Medicaid and using consumer choice to drive competition, which drives down costs. Congress and the next president should work on these priorities.”

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst released a statement following this week’s confirmation by the Obama administration that there would be, on average, a 25 percent increase for ObamaCare plans.

Senator Joni Ernst
Senator Joni Ernst
“Iowa’s businesses and families alike continue to struggle under the crushing weight of ObamaCare. Years ago, President Obama promised health insurance premiums would go down under ObamaCare. They haven’t. Now, the Obama administration cannot ignore the facts; premiums continue to rise and choice continues to dwindle. These rising costs once again prove the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable.”

This announcement comes after Senator Ernst recently highlighted Iowans’ concerns over rising ObamaCare costs at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.

The Iowa Senator is also an original cosponsor of S.339 to repeal the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” which authorizes full repeal 180 days after enactment in order to allow a six-month window to replace ObamaCare with patient centered, affordable, quality solutions.

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