Smith Report 8.17.2017

The Time to Act is Now
When I spend time with folks across southeast and south central Missouri, whether it’s at my public roundtables, multiple small business stops or frequent listening posts, I consistently hear from families whose healthcare premiums and copayments have doubled, individuals who only have one, or in some cases no health insurance choices, and business owners who are spending more and more of their hard-earned resources trying to comply with costly Obamacare regulations than actually using those resources to provide benefits and coverage for their employees.
As I take the month of August to focus on farms, I have heard so many Missouri farmers tell me the number one thing they are concerned about is their health insurance costs and access. One family I spoke with is paying $20,000 a year for their Obamacare health insurance, and that is WITH the help of cost sharing subsidies. Another farmer I spoke with has sacrificed health insurance for himself because he can only afford it for his wife and daughter.
During my many trips back to Missouri between votes and committee hearings, my conversations with farmers and small business owners often come back to the same question, “my costs to provide healthcare for my family and employees is through the roof, how do we get them down?” At one of my healthcare roundtables in Cape Girardeau, I heard from a packed house where nearly everyone, including doctors, said we needed more price transparency in healthcare. I couldn’t agree more. At another one of my healthcare roundtables in Rolla, we had more than 40 folks in the room, nearly all of whom were concerned about the dwindling number of providers in the area. Unfortunately, under Obamacare, 26 of 30 counties in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District only have one insurer to choose from. There is no choice, and there is no competition, which means higher prices.
Our country is better than this. We cannot allow hardworking Americans to suffer under Obama’s failing healthcare law. The House of Representatives has made progress on bills that will allow insurance to be sold across state lines and give people who own small businesses or run farms the opportunity to ban together, buy insurance as a larger group and lower their overall costs. We have passed bills to end the anti-trust exemption for insurance providers to bring back competition. We have worked hard to give Americans relief from the burden of Obamacare, and it’s time for the U.S. Senate to do the same. In order to finish what we’ve started, Senators are going to have to stop letting politics get in the way, do what’s right for the American people and take action on legislation that will make a difference.
We have a president who is ready to sign a repeal bill for one of the most intrusive pieces of legislation in my lifetime, and the House of Representatives has voted to repeal and replace Obamacare multiple times. Now the Senate has a choice. Do they want to finish the work to relieve Missourians and folks all across the country of the burden that is Obamacare or continue with the status quo? People have shouldered this burden long enough, and the time to act is now.