Photo credit: Martin Jacobsen (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Photo credit: Martin Jacobsen (CC-By-SA 3.0)
Photo credit: Martin Jacobsen (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Nearly half of Americans who bought individual insurance plans from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or other marketplaces say they struggle to pay their monthly premiums.  On top of that, the White House admits premium hikes are only expected to increase in 2016.

This anticipated rise of health insurance premiums on individuals in the ACA exchange should not come as a surprise.  With health insurers experiencing skyrocketing care costs and other expenses, the logical result is premium increases on individual plans.  Lofty promises were made when this legislation was being sold to Iowans and the American public, but there have been many shortcomings and disappointments.

Another troubling finding is for those who signed up for individual health plans, they also have concerns their coverage won’t be good enough to completely protect them financially.  Iowans tell me they fear not being able to cover the costs of the medical expenses.

Unfortunately, I don’t expect this to change anytime soon.  The U.S. Supreme Court is deliberating King vs. Burwell.  If the Supreme Court sides with the Obama Administration, we’ll still be in the same position we’re in today in a system many Americans can’t afford.

If the Supreme Court rules against the Obama Administration, there is a fear many Americans will have the rug pulled out from underneath them and stuck with plans they can’t afford or even worse – left uninsured.  In this ruling scenario, we need to ensure this doesn’t happen in the short term, while looking to longer term solutions to empower consumers to maximize their dollars and decision making.

The bottom line is this: Too frequently we spend our time fixing the mistakes created by so-called “Washington solutions”.

Yes, we need to strengthen health care.  But we do not need another big federal government-run program with a one-size-fits-all mentality.  People need to be the priority; they need to be put in charge of their dollars and their decisions.  After all, it is your health we are talking about.  And our doctors and providers need to be empowered to do what they trained for and love – helping people stay healthy and treating people to live better lives.

We need to approach this by listening to people first, and not hearing from them later after the fact and then trying to fix the mistakes.  That should be our approach to all legislating.

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