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Ten Years of Obamacare

This month marks the ten-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act—or Obamacare—being signed into law. Obamacare dramatically changed the healthcare landscape across the United States, and not in a good way. Over the past decade, Obamacare has led to higher premiums, fewer healthcare choices and millions of Americans losing the health insurance they enjoyed. We believe in giving all Americans access to affordable, reliable health care coverage that put patients in control of their healthcare decisions. Obamacare fails to achieve these goals while increasing healthcare costs, depleting Medicare and raising taxes.


Fortunately, we have made progress in dismantling some of the most problematic portions of the law. Last year, legislation I introduced to repeal the “Cadillac Tax” provision of Obamacare was signed into law with strong bipartisan support. Now that it is repealed, it no longer threatens to raise the premiums of over 400,000 South Dakotans who get their health insurance through their work. 


We were also able to get rid of the Obamacare individual mandate when we passed and President Trump signed into law historic tax reform in 2017. The individual mandate required that nearly all Americans purchase health insurance, and if they chose not to, they would have to pay a fine to the government. The Independent Payment Advisory Board, which many called a “death panel” at the time was also dismantled in our tax reform law.


After our experience with Obamacare, it’s clear that the government should not be responsible for the healthcare of all Americans, as some have proposed. We continue to see how government-run healthcare fails patients at the Indian Health Service and the VA. Americans deserve better than a one-size-fits-all plan that lets the government make important decisions about your healthcare needs.


South Dakotans should have access to appropriate care and the doctor they choose. We continue working on healthcare policies that include: guaranteed renewal of coverage, portability of coverage for those who change jobs or leave the workforce through retirement, coverage for those with pre-existing conditions if they maintain insurance from policy to policy without lapses, and provisions allowing children up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ plans.


These are the principles that, when working with a free market, will allow all Americans the opportunity to have affordable, comprehensive care that puts patients first. In the Senate, I continue to work toward these principles. When it comes to the health of our families, South Dakotans deserve nothing less.






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