Weekly Column: King v. Burwell Ruling Doesn't Change the Fact that the ACA is Fatally Flawed
On June 25, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federal subsidies are legal. Ruling in the case of King v. Burwell in a 6-3 vote, the Court sided with the administration finding the subsidies 6.4 million people currently receive do not depend on where they live, under the president’s health care law. With this ruling, the administration has dodged another bullet. The Supreme Court once again interpreted the law in a way that favors the administration. We continue to be stuck with the ACA’s ever rising health insurance costs and the damage it is doing to our economy. This is the second major case in which the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the ACA, underscoring the need to elect a Republican president in 2016 in order to repeal and replace this fatally flawed law.
From increased insurance costs to website malfunctions and canceled coverage for millions, the ACA has hurt our economy and millions of American families. At least 4.7 million Americans lost the health care plans they enjoyed, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that the law will reduce employment by 2.5 million in the next decade. This is in part because the ACA is not designed to incentivize growth. Employers are reluctant to expand and hire more employees because they could be subject to more costly mandates under the law. Lower income individuals are likely to stay in their income brackets to keep their health benefits instead of going for a promotion at work. These are only a couple examples of how the ACA discourages economic growth.
In South Dakota, there have been 18 ACA-compliant plans requesting double-digit premium rate increases in 2016. One insurance company in South Dakota is proposing premium increases of 43 percent. Part of the reason for the rate increases are the new “one-size-fits-all” requirements forcing plans to cover unneeded benefits. One mother of three, who lives in Northeast South Dakota recently wrote to me after being notified that her out-of-pocket health insurance cost for herself and her children was increasing from $450 a month to more than $1,700. She spent hours exhausting all her options for obtaining new insurance, sifting through healthcare.gov; yet she got nowhere under Obamacare. Her children are now faced with completely losing their health insurance at the end of the month. This is just one more example of the law failing American families.
Americans deserve a health care solution that is patient-centered, effective and accountable with a strong, vibrant marketplace to provide this freedom and choice. The ACA fails to achieve any of these goals. It also removes choice and innovation from the market, which is the most powerful tool to lower costs and better address everyone’s unique healthcare needs.
Republicans in Congress will not be deterred by the Court’s decision. South Dakotans deserve better. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to repeal and replace this flawed, government-run health care plan. Our goal is to secure, affordable services in a competitive market for all Americans.