Justice Samuel Alito pointed out in arguments on March 27 that average, healthy young adults- the demographic the administration claims the law will help the most- could actually end up paying much more than they did before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Justice Alito made the point that “a young, healthy individual targeted by the mandate consumes about $854 in health services each year,” but noted that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the average premium for a single insurance policy would be roughly $5,800 in 2016. This is a prime example how the government requiring an individual to buy health insurance does nothing to drive down the actual cost of care and could actually end up costing the patient more money.
As a physician, most people I’ve seen over the years are satisfied with the quality of the care they receive, but they do not like the cost. They want to be able to receive the care they need at an affordable price, without unnecessary interference from insurance companies and government bureaucrats. In America, we provide the best quality health care in the world. It’s time we make that quality care affordable to everyone who wants to take advantage of it.
The system before the health care law was working for 80 percent of all Americans. We had a great opportunity to extend coverage to the uninsured in an affordable, commonsense way that kept our individual liberties intact; however, the health care law fell short. We now have a great responsibility to repeal this flawed law and make quality health insurance more affordable. We can do this by improving portability and giving patients more ownership of their policies, ensuring doctors and patients are in charge of making medically-necessary decisions, and eliminating the insurance industry’s ability to profit by avoiding the sick.
Regardless of what the Supreme Court rules tomorrow, we must take a hard look at the law and address its flaws. I strongly believe the best way to do this would be to start from scratch and work in a bipartisan way toward real, commonsense health care reform. Just this Congress, I have voted with House Republicans thirty times to repeal all or parts of the health care law but the Senate has not acted on these efforts. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure Americans have the access to affordable health care coverage that they deserve.
Roe is a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee.