Bob Goodlatte: Protecting your healthcare plan

bob-goodlatte-afp2If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it. Right? Well, despite President Obama’s promises that under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, you could keep your healthcare plan, millions of Americans have discovered that is simply not true.

Now, a year after the troubled rollout of Obamacare, millions more Americans will find out that they are also losing their health care plans, including many thousands of Virginians. Many individuals who work for small businesses are now losing their employer sponsored plans because the plans do not comply with all of the costly Obamacare mandates. There have been reports of many small businesses across that nation that have already slowed hiring, cut hours, or raised prices in order to prepare for higher coverage costs or to avoid new mandates stemming from the health care law. A recent survey of businesses by the New York Federal Reserve found that 20 percent are “reducing the number of workers and/or raising the share of part-time workers” as a result of Obamacare.

As if cancelled policies aren’t enough of a side-effect of Obamacare, many other Americans will likely experience higher premiums in the plans they do keep. An analysis released by the Health Research Institute earlier this month found that Virginians, in particular, are expected to see an average premium increase of 10.2 percent in 2015 health plan rates. So much for Obamacare being the “affordable care” act.

In order to protect those set to lose their plans this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Employee Health Care Protection Act (H.R. 3522) in September by a bipartisan vote. This legislation gives Americans a choice and would allow employers in the group insurance market to continue to offer their existing health insurance plans, even if they don’t quite meet all of the Obamacare requirements, through 2018. While Obamacare was forced through the House without a single Republican vote in 2010, this legislation to provide relief from it was approved by the House with the support of more than two-dozen Democrats. It’s evident that many are concerned about the negative impacts on the way.

President Obama’s promise that “if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan” has proven to be false. I have opposed Obamacare from the start and these cancelled plans and increasing premiums are just another symptom of a fundamentally flawed law. The Employee Health Care Protection Act would allow more Americans to keep plans that they like and not discourage small businesses from creating new jobs. I urge the Senate to take up this legislation and join the House in protecting the American people from the negative side effects of Obamacare.

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