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You Are Paying More For Insurance Due To Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation

There has been a long history of GOP sabotage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that has cost Americans billions of dollars in additional insurance premium costs. During the Obama era, the Republicans in Congress voted to end the risk corridors program and the insurance co-ops. Thousands of Nebraskans — including myself — lost good policies they liked with Co-Opportunity Insurance and were forced to purchase more expensive and inferior policies.

Since Trump has taken office, the Republicans have escalated their sabotage of the ACA. Due to their reckless policies, we are all paying more for insurance. Here in Nebraska, insurance premiums are expected to go up 20% due to the decisions by the Republicans in Washington.

According to Standard and Poor’s, the ACA marketplaces had stabilized by early 2017 and insurance premiums were expected to rise at a moderate rate. However, actions by the Trump Administration and the Republicans in Congress have wrecked those marketplaces since January 20, 2017.

The recent deficit financed tax cut — among other things — abolished the individual mandate. That will cause many healthy people to cease buying insurance and to wait until they get sick or injured before they purchase coverage. This will cause insurance premiums to soar because many people will game the system and fewer younger and healthy people will be paying into the pool. Older and less healthy people who need coverage will pay the price.

Another act of sabotage from the Republicans in D.C. was when the Trump Administration ended the payments to the cost sharing subsidy program. This former program reduced the amount that millions of Americans had to pay for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) was promised an up or down vote on resuming this program as the price for her foolish vote for the Trump tax cuts. Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has since broken that promise.

And that’s not all. The Administration has once again allowed the sale of so-called “junk policies.” These inexpensive, bare bones policies generally allow pre-existing condition clauses and cap the benefits somewhere in the vicinity of $100,000.00. Somebody carrying one of these polices will get a nasty surprise if they sustain a serious illness or injury. These kinds of policies will suck young and healthy people out of the insurance markets — thus driving up the costs for everybody else.

All of these changes to the health care system from Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have given us the worst of both worlds. According to the Urban Institute, these acts of vandalism will cause 6 million fewer Americans to have insurance coverage and increase federal government insurance subsidies payments by $33 billion. At the same time, it is estimated this will cause insurance premiums to rise by 20%.

These negative changes also represent a trail of broken promises by Nebraska’s Congressional delegation. In 2017, Deb Fischer promised “hassle free” insurance in an interview on the Coby Mach show. Congressman Fortenberry sent a letter to his constituents promising that “nobody would be left behind” in connection with what he called “health care reform.”

Our health care system is no longer Obama Care. Due to these changes it is Trump Care now. As Trump said shortly after the tax bill passed: “We have essentially repealed Obamacare.”

What this means is that the Republicans have broken the health care system and they now own it. We need to make the voters understand they are paying a lot more due to these decisions by the D.C. Republicans.

We must also tell the voters what we stand for. The Center For American Progress — a prominent Democratic think tank in Washington — has come up with a plan they have labeled: “Medicare Extra.” Under this plan, any individual or business could select a government option as their insurance carrier. If somebody likes their employer based plan, they can keep it. If the government option is better, they can switch.

Health care is the number one issue in the campaign by a fairly wide margin. As Democrats, we must remind the voters the GOP has wrecked the health care system and we can fix it. The Republican believe that access to decent, affordable health care is a privilege. We Democrats believe it is a right. Now let’s drive that message home!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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