Opinion Pieces

If You Like It, You Should Be Able to Keep It

by: Congressman Patrick McHenry

While much of the focus on Obamacare's rollout has centered on the struggling Healthcare.gov website, another more disturbing reality has emerged since the October 1st launch.  It was around then I began hearing from constituents who received cancellation notices from their insurance companies.  These folks liked their policies.  The policies worked for them.  Yet the notices informed them their chosen policy was not good enough under Obamacare.


I've heard from folks like Tom, a retiree in Hickory.  He and his wife had worked for years and enjoyed coverage through their employers.  Following retirement, they found a policy that worked for them on the private market costing around $450 a month.  However, that plan was not good enough under Obamacare.  The alternative, Obamacare-compliant policy would cost Tom and his wife over $1200 a month. 


There is Roberta in Gastonia.  After she gave up her teaching job to care for her ailing mother, she was able to find a policy for her and her husband that cost less than $150 a month.  Unfortunately that policy was cancelled because of Obamacare.  The replacement's cost? $510 a month.  


I also heard from Myron in Denver.  He was on a family plan with his wife and two college-aged sons that cost just over $600 a month.  That was until he received his cancellation notice in the mail.  The cheapest alternatives available to Myron's family would cost over $1500 a month and double his deductible. 


These are only a few of the stories I have heard from constituents across the 10th District.  I am sure there are more stories of folks losing their insurance that have not yet been shared.  Media estimates of those losing health coverage have been as high as 160,000 in North Carolina and 3.5 million nationally.   


What makes this worse?  This is not how Obamacare was sold to the American people.  From the time the law was introduced, through last year's election, and as recently as this September, President Obama has reiterated that if you like your current insurance, you could keep it under Obamacare.  Instead, millions of Americans received a cancellation notice as a daily reminder of this broken promise. 


This week, in an effort to hold President Obama to his word, the House passed H.R. 3350, the Keep Your Health Plan Act.  This one-page legislation, which I cosponsored and voted for, allows Americans to keep plans available on the individual market now through 2014.  Additionally, this legislation ensures those keeping their current plans are not penalized by the Obamacare tax on those who fail to sign up through the exchanges.


I remain opposed to Obamacare.  I think it is bad policy that takes healthcare decisions away from the consumer and puts them in the hands of government bureaucrats.  I have joined as a cosponsor of the American Health Care Reform Act which would increase competition among insurance companies and lower costs for all Americans. 


However, Obamacare is still the law of the land.  As long as that is true, I will work to hold President Obama accountable.  H.R. 3350 does this.  Now it is up to the Senate to act.  They must support this legislation to protect Roberta, Myron, Tom, and countless other Americans from Obamacare's unaffordable premiums.