Op-ed: Obamacare is imploding

Obamacare is imploding. With each passing day, we see more evidence that the program that promised Americans affordable health care is on the verge of total collapse.

The failures of Obamacare are well documented in the media. Insurance premiums are skyrocketing for both families and employers, insurers are withdrawing from the exchanges, and consumers are seeing their health care options rapidly disappear. Under Obamacare, families are paying much more and getting way less.

 Obamacare map 2017

Based on the proposed rate increases submitted to the North Carolina Department of Insurance for approval, North Carolinians could experience an increase of 19 to 25 percent in the cost of their health insurance coverage for 2017. It remains to be seen how much more premiums will skyrocket once the final rates are announced this fall.

These rate increases are unacceptable to the people of North Carolina. The Obamacare bureaucracy is driving up the cost of health insurance, and North Carolinians are being told they have to pick up the tab.

To make matters worse, the Kaiser Family Foundation predicts that for next year, 90 percent of North Carolina counties will have only one choice of insurer. Enrollment for an Obamacare policy for 2017 begins on Nov. 1, and when North Carolinians log on to the Obamacare exchange this fall to shop for a plan, they will likely find only one choice of insurer and a steep price tag.

This is not how health care is supposed to work. But sadly, this is what economists predicted about Obamacare seven years ago. These predictions have now come true. Americans were promised that Obamacare would lower their premiums and that they could keep their current plan if they liked it, but that’s not what Americans got. Prices are escalating, and plan choices are evaporating.

No matter the political affiliation of our next president, he or she will have to work with Congress to address this collapse. I have offered a solution called the Patient CARE Act that would take steps to make quality, affordable health care accessible to every American through commonsense, patient-focused reforms. I believe this plan could serve as a basis for working together to roll back Obamacare’s bureaucracy and red tape and give Americans greater freedom and more choices to select the plan that best fits their pocketbooks and health needs.

Some have suggested a “public option,” which is government-run health care, as the solution to Obamacare’s collapse. But we must remember that it is Obamacare’s government-imposed mandates, bureaucracy and red tape that is driving up the cost of health insurance and limiting Americans’ choice of plans. Doubling down on government failure with even more government control will only make this situation far worse for individuals and families, not better.

Americans are understandably fed up with the finger pointing. It’s time for solutions, and these solutions must allow greater choice at a lower cost for families, protect individuals with pre-existing conditions, protect Medicare for current seniors and future generations, and promote greater medical innovation to find cures and save lives.

Obamacare is on a collision course for collapse. Americans cannot afford to wait any longer for a solution. We need to work together to expand access to quality and affordable health care by empowering individuals — not Washington bureaucrats — to make their own health care decisions.

Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican from Winston-Salem, is a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.

This op-ed was published by the North State Journal.