12.04.2017 0

Obamacare is hurting Virginians. Are the Virginia Senators listening?

By Natalie Castro

Americans are growing increasingly frustrated with Congressional stagnation on healthcare issues. As premiums continue to rise as a disastrous side effect of Obamacare, the American people are demanding change.

Obamacare was meant to assist America’s poorest citizens, but it did so at the expensive of million more low income and middle-class Americans who are experiencing drastic premium hikes. This issue affects 22 million people who buy plans without the help of their employer.

This has left residents of Charlottesville, Virginia uniting for change. As one of the counties hit hardest with Obamacare costs, some residents are seeing premiums rise thousands of dollars. Ian Dixon, a 38-year-old man with a family of four, told the Wall Street Journal that in 2018 his family’s premium will jump from $988 a month to $3,158, according to prices he found on the ACA exchange.

Dixon has now led a grassroots movement to force Congressional representatives to see his struggle. Dixon and other residents have created a Facebook page, written letters to Congress and even drove to Washington to meet with Democratic Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and Republican Representative Tom Garrett.

This comes after Charlottesville residents gathered outside the home of Garret just weeks earlier. This has caused a sharp divide within the city, while some residents believe the ACA assisted them, others find it has exacerbated economic woes. Nonetheless, nearly all residents have been frustrated by the Republican party’s small steps on the issue, arguing the lack of a comprehensive plan leaves everyone missing out.

The current Republican tax plan alleviates some of these concerns by removing the individual mandate which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance or receive a tax penalty. The House bill also changes tax treatment for graduate students and those paying back student loans. While this addresses some cost concerns, it does little to address the premium increases more, and more Americans are facing.

The residents of Charlottesville are correct, a more comprehensive plan would do much more to remove the adverse effects of Obamacare than these small efforts, but at least action is being taken.

The American people truly have three people to blame for this healthcare catastrophe- Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and John McCain. Time after time when Republicans sought to overhaul Obamacare to reduce premiums and ensure stability in healthcare markets, it was these “moderate” Republicans who voted against the legislation.

In June, Senator Ted Cruz offered amendments to Senate legislation directly focused on removing defined benefits from plans to allow health insurance companies to reduce costs for those that don’t require such robust plans. These efforts were only halted by Congressional Republicans unwilling to keep their campaign promises.

The American people have reason to be unhappy; Congress has failed consistently to give them promised reforms. This is not merely an abstract policy priority; it is a real-world problem that affects everyday families such as the Dixon family. So-called moderate Republicans must rally behind cost-reducing measures that take comprehensive aims are mitigating the effects of Obamacare. The American people have made their needs clear, now the McCain’s of Congress need to get on board.

Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government

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