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Ocala Star-Banner - ObamaCare is not the answer

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By Representative Daniel Webster

This week marks an unhappy anniversary. Two years ago, President Obama signed a federal takeover of healthcare into law, inflicting serious damage on the American economy and our health care system.

President Obama justified this federal overreach on two assumptions: that it would provide "affordable care" and that it would offer "patient protection."

Two years later, both assumptions have been proven false. Costs are up and will continue to skyrocket; patients have less freedom to make their own healthcare decisions.

At a cost of $1.76 trillion over 10 years, what will ObamaCare actually do? It will increase taxes, impose regulations and mandates, put government bureaucrats in charge of health decisions, and hurt small businesses. This is not what America was promised, nor is it what we need or want.

Last year, President Obama told an audience at a health conference that ObamaCare "will lower premiums." As a candidate, he vowed to "bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family." But the typical family will never see those savings.

In 2011, insurance premiums for the average family rose by nine percent nationally. This year, employer-sponsored insurance costs will rise another eight percent in Florida. By 2033, insurance premiums will be more than median household income, according to a recent study.

Families are paying more, and so are taxpayers. Government spending will continue to increase under ObamaCare. Medicaid spending will double by 2022. Under President Obama's budget, Medicare and Social Security will go bankrupt.

According to government estimates, by 2020, $1 out of every $5 spent in America will be spent on health care. That's not just unaffordable; it's unsustainable.

Meanwhile, many Americans will lose their current coverage. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, as many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-based insurance as a result of ObamaCare. Thanks to new Medicare and tax policies, six million retirees may lose their prescription drug coverage.

Families that use Health Savings Accounts to save money are already seeing their costs go up due to new regulations that affect as many as 20 million Americans. Floridians that chose to forego health insurance for reasons of personal choice face a government fine under ObamaCare.

ObamaCare also creates a new government panel of unelected bureaucrats capable of denying care to seniors on Medicare. The Independent Payment Advisory Board can curtail benefits and answers to no one. Doctors and patients should have the final say in health care decision -- not 15 unaccountable bureaucrats.

Families and seniors cannot afford ObamaCare and neither can the economy. Small businesses find it more expensive to operate due to the mandates and regulations of the law. This means fewer jobs for the unemployed, lower wages, and less economic growth.

Americans know ObamaCare must come to an end. A recent poll from ABC News and the Washington Post found that two-thirds of Americans want the Supreme Court to do away with all or part of the law.

In addition to voting to repeal Obamacare, I am also fighting for a replacement that covers pre-existing conditions and improves the doctor-patient relationship. I understand that we need free market solutions to health care that put the patient first. We must make it more affordable, and we do need to increase accessibility. But ObamaCare simply does not do that. That's the problem with big government programs: they rarely achieve what they promise. And taxpayers are left to foot the bill.

The time is now to join together and save our health care system, protect Americans from higher premiums, and remove Obamacare's costly red-tape that strangles small businesses and economic growth.


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