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Noem Says There Is an Alternative to the Affordable Care Act

South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem takes President Obama to task over the most recent delay/change/adjustment in the Affordable Care Act.  The following is from her weekly column.  

Earlier this month, the Obama administration announced that mid-sized businesses are off the hook for another year when it comes to the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandates. This means companies that employ 50-99 individuals won’t be required to cover full-time staff until 2016 – at the earliest. Their employees, however, will still be required to carry insurance or pay a tax under the law’s individual mandate. It doesn’t seem right that businesses get a break while hardworking Americans are left to fend for themselves.

Delaying the employer mandate in and of itself is not a bad thing. A number of companies – large and small – have discussed how onerous and confusing the provision is.

A recent survey by the Chamber of Commerce and the International Franchise Association found “a third of franchise businesses have cut workers’ hours because of the requirement that companies with 50 or more full-time workers offer health insurance or pay a fine.”

The National Federation of Independent Business also reports that the employer mandate could eliminate more than a million jobs. The majority of those losses could come from small businesses that should be driving economic recovery.

If businesses can’t manage the Affordable Care Act’s burdens, how can we expect families to?

I’ve joined House Republicans to pass a bill that would give both you and your employer more time before being required to purchase health care coverage.

We’ve passed a series of delays like this to help families and businesses, but the administration has opted to rewrite law on a whim instead of working with Congress. In fact, the President has unilaterally delayed parts of the law at least 23 times since July 2013. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton from Michigan said, “If unilateral delays were an Olympic sport, the White House would sweep the gold, silver, and bronze.”

The Obama administration is making up the rules as they go on this law, creating even more confusion and uncertainty. It’s clearly flawed and I’ve heard from hundreds of South Dakota families who are feeling the financial impact of those flaws today. I’ve worked hard to give individual South Dakotans the same relief the administration has given to corporations, but I’ve also kept my eye on the ball.

We must repeal the legislation. Of course, we can’t stop there. Our health care system is broken. Costs are increasing and it’s terrifying to think that a family’s financial security could be jeopardized because of a freak injury or a serious illness. But there are better approaches than the Affordable Care Act.

Late last year, I put my support behind the American Health Care Reform Act. This proposal targets the primary drivers of rising health care costs, rather than just forwarding the costs to another payer. It does this by allowing families and individuals to deduct health care costs, just like companies are already allowed to do. It reforms medical malpractice laws, increases competition by letting families purchase health insurance across state lines, and allows small businesses to group together so they can get the same buying power as large corporations.

And I too believe that those with pre-existing conditions, like asthma or cancer, should not be discriminated against when it comes to health care coverage. This legislation would help protect those individuals.

The Affordable Care Act has long been regarded as unworkable, but the administration’s numerous modifications, delays, and changes have shown us all just how unworkable this law really is. It’s time to offer relief to all Americans and look at alternatives that give families the tools they need to get covered without the market distortions and financial burdens that come with the Affordable Care Act.


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