Affordable Care Act has been everything but affordable

Congressman Daniel Webster
Congressman Daniel Webster

Over the past weeks and months, I have met with numerous hospital representatives, healthcare providers and constituents in our communities. Congress’ goal is to ensure there will be a stable transition to a better health care system.

The Affordable Care Act has been everything but affordable and is collapsing across the country, raising costs for patients and forcing insurers out of the marketplace, which leaves patients and families with nowhere to go.

Currently, 4.7 million people are without an insurer, one of three counties only have one option and it is going to get worse.  On February 14th, Health Insurance provider Humana announced they would be pulling out of Obamacare markets completely, citing a failing system and massive financial losses.  Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said on February 15th that the Obamacare Marketplaces are in a “death spiral” and doomed to fail. “It’s not going to get any better; it’s getting worse.”

We must repeal Obamacare and replace it with a 21st century healthcare system. Under our plan, the following protections will not go away. Republicans have never supported the removal of these provisions and have included them in all proposals to date:

  • Protect patients with pre-existing conditions: Ensures you will never be denied healthcare coverage regardless of their health status.
  • Protect coverage for young people: Allows dependents up to age 26 stay on their parents’ plan.
  • Prohibits insurers from turning away patients when you renew your plan simply because you may be sick.

Additionally, the plan the House is working on will allow more choices and lower costs including:

  • Portable insurance: Individuals without healthcare access will be offered a refundable tax credit to help buy insurance in the market. These benefits move with you from job to job and into retirement.
  • Allow small businesses and individuals to band together: New pooling mechanisms lets businesses and individuals to increase purchasing power and negotiate for lower prices.

I believe we must also restore Medicaid to the original intent of the program – providing health care services to low income children, their caretaker relatives, the blind, and individuals with disabilities. 

Congressman Daniel Webster represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.


  1. I am a self-employed person so I have no access to group insurance. Before affordable healthcare came in play, I had an individual Blue Cross policy that cost me $308 a month with a $500 deductible. Last year I paid $586 a month and had a $5000 deductible. For 2017 the best and cheapest policy that I could find was $853 a month with a $10,000 deductible. All of these policies are through Blue Cross. The only individual Insurance available for me is through Blue Cross for 2017. All the other individual healthcare plans pulled out of my county. I do not understand why we cannot do riders on insurance that if you need maternity care you pick it up and have for three years before it’s needed. I also believe that allowing all children under 26 to stay on their parents insurance is a mistake. I think under 26 year olds should be enrolled in full-time college to stay on the parents insurance. I also think substance-abuse care should be an additional rider also. Why should I have to pay for everybody else getting affordable healthcare? Obviously it’s not affordable for me! Please Dan Webster help make a radical change that gets it back to Affordable for me!

    • Debbie, part of the problem before the ACA policies were written that excluded some necessary or unexpected care to keep premiums low. These were in essence junk policies and provided minimal coverage. Value shopping may have been good until you got sick buyers remorse. With recent executive orders you will not be penalized for not having insurance, if you want to take the chance roll the dice, reap the consequences

      • Dana they paid for everything except my co-pays that I paid $25 for my doctor appointment. If I went in the hospital there was a co-pay of $600. It was a PPO! It was extremely good insurance! Now I don’t even get a penny paid for until 20,000 is paid! So this year I will pay the penalty unless someone gets rid of it. And I will pay for my health cost outside of insurance.

  2. Congressman, I say don’t repeal until we can see what you are offering. There are a log of really good things in Obamacare. It is a shame Fox and the GOP could not find a way to take the ACA and improve on it.

    Do you really think that health care costs were going to do down if ACA was instituted. The are bound to go up, I say we get rid of all the middle men (insurance companies) who make money off of sick people and get with the rest of the civilized world and work for single payer.

      • Well, Lloyd, no surprise that we had different experiences with health care – in a country where it was a right, not a privilege. Lived and worked in the UK for 15 years, my friends and neighbors were Brits, and they had great health care and none went bankrupt paying for it. To call the single payer system that’s been proposed in the States ‘socialized medicine’ is a misnomer since physicians and other health care providers would not be employed by the government as they are in other countries. But I’m sure you know that.
        Everyone can share horror stories of lousy or absent medical care but the fact remains that our ‘exceptional nation’ is truly that – we’re the only one in the developed world that does not guarantee health care as a right to all its citizens.

        • Yes Marsha, as an American in a foreign country you do have a nice head-of-the-line convenience. Not so for locals that may wait up to 8 months for cancer treatment. In 2008, according to a CATO paper by Michael Tanner, 750,000 Brits were waiting for admission to a hospital. That information is dated, but probably worse now. “… more than half of British patients wait more than 18 weeks for care.” As of 2008 about 10% of Brits had private health care insurance to give them better treatment. That’s the way it is in most socialized medicine countries. By the way, in the UK a middle class earner pays about 12% per paycheck for heath insurance and 20% income tax. They also have a 20% VAT on purchases. So, you would have about 32% taken from your paycheck and still pay 20% when you make purchases. Quite a bit more than we pay here in the good old U.S. of A. Oh, and the UK has been having a deficit too, thanks to their socialized health care system.

          But, many countries folks are so used to the government telling them what to do and when to do it, that they welcome the direction. Americans prefer to be independent thinkers and like to make their own choices.

          Many of the countries with gov provided health care services are experiencing large deficits and are attempting to emulate our system of privatized health care insurance.

          A good read is CATO’s The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World — Michal Tanner. It’s a bit dated, but still gives us a bit of perspective on how other countries handle health care.

      • Bill, you get medicare … I am sure you paid your way in, single payer medicare will work the same way, it won’t be free, we will be taxed, but that is the only way you can get what you like out of Obamacare and keep the prices realistic. You do realize that before Medicare seniors were being dropped like flies from their healthcare insurance because OLD PEOPLE GET SICK. Paying your own way without tons if regulations to go with it just won’t work.

  3. I disagree bigly. I am a sole proprietor business owner and single mother. I make under $50k a yr. I am paying $10 month for medical and $25 month for dental through the ACA. Pretty damned affordable!!!!

    • Tracy, my wife was on it for two years. We make less money too. Her premiums were low but her deductible was 10K. So we are praying nothing would happen to her before she was able to get on Medicare type plans.
      I know many people that took Obama care plans but only could afford plans with very high deductible that they could not come up with if needed. That kept them within the law such as it was.
      The only place it did help her was pre-existing condition, otherwise it sucked.

    • You’re welcome. The rest of us have to pay a lot more than you so that you can ride the gravy train of health care. Our health care has gone up in leaps and bounds so that you can have a “Pretty Damned Affordable” benefit. Hope you appreciate what the rest of us are doing for you?

  4. Why stick with something that is not working? What is the point of forcing people out of healthcare insurance because of the high cost to them so that someone else can take their place with little outlay? If insurance companies continue to bail, where is this “insurance” going to come from?

    This is something they are working on, but is not yet ready. At least, thus far, it is not “we just need to pass it to see what’s in it”.

    As far as having 7 years to develop something else, they have been working on trying to fix (tweak) what is in place, but were met with total resistance at every turn by the total attitude of “It’s put out there by Republicans, so don’t bother.” Now THAT is really reaching across the aisle, isn’t it.

  5. I don’t even know where to begin. This plan is not better than the reforms set in place by the Affordable Care Act. The problem with the ACA was not that it didn’t cover enough people or that sub-standard care was provided, the problem was that the insurance companies did not like it and that fairly covering all Americans cut into their profit margins

    It is untrue that doctors and hospitals hate the ACA. Doctors found that they were able to provide more patients with preventable care that reduced illnesses and deaths. That is why doctors are in medicine in the first place, right? Hospitals found that because people were healthier overall that they counted less on Emergency Room care and they also found that that they bore less of the financial burden.

    Yes, there are things that could work better under the ACA, but this plan is not it. One of the reasons that insurance companies are moving out of the marketplace at this time, is that they do not know what will happen. It has nothing to do with the ACA itself.

    Take time to look carefully at what is happening and consider the motivations. This IS NOT a Republican or Democratic problem. This affects every American, of every age and any changes deserve to be well-thought out and should not be rushed. There was a reason that the Republicans could not come up with an answer during the past 8 years.

    • This may come as a shock, but insurance companies are businesses. Businesses operate on profit. Those profits come from premiums. By forcing people and other businesses who were paying those premiums to have to drop out, they, just like us, have to cut their losses. No business is sustainable without profit. It just can’t happen and why should it.

      Trust me, I am no fan of insurance..period. It is, however, a necessary evil. What would be your solution?

      It just sounds to me like they are trying to find something that will work for all of us, not just a certain segment.of the population.

      • single payer. I don’t like the whole concept of a corporation making billion dollar profits on the back of insurance companies. I don’t like going back to pre-existing condition exempting patients. There was NOTHING good about healthcare in this country before the ACA. The policies were crap and insurance companies only care about their stockholders, not their patients and buyers.

  6. Congressman, show us the plan. You and your colleagues have had 7 years to develop an alternative and the reality is you have nothing. If you did, you surely would have provided it, as your President stated so continually and so forcefully, “on day one.” Now he’s talking about 2018. If you repeal without a simultaneous replacement, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 40,300 of your constituents in the 11th District will lose their insurance and, by extension, their health care. And no sir, the ER is not an acceptable substitute while congress gets their act together.

    There has never been a far-reaching law, like the ACA, that hasn’t needed ‘tweaking’ once it’s been implemented. That’s what good governance is – or should be…evaluation, modification, and re-evaluation to continually improve quality. Well, as President Obama invited Congress to do many times, tweak away. Try pilot efforts that allow purchasing insurance across state borders and evaluate the results. There isn’t any plan or program that can’t be improved. Keep what we have, determine what needs improvement, fund pilot programs to make those improvements, evaluate their effectiveness and then make changes. And make one of those pilot programs a single payer system a’ la Medicare.

    And do remember, Congressman, those 40,300 individuals, their friends, family and caring members of their communities vote. We are watching.

    • PS Refundable tax credits only work if you pay taxes, right? And that’s reimbursement after the fact. We’re not just talking about the poor, we are also talking about those individuals who are living the high life, day to day, at tax payer expense, who haven’t paid a dime in federal income taxes in years. I’m not talking about food stamp recipients. I am talking about the personification of the ‘Welfare Queen;” the current President of the United States.

    • Marsha Marsha Marsha…If a person accrues $1 million in medical expenses…he would have had to have paid over $1,000 a month for his ENTIRE 80 year lifetime just to break even. To total $1 million, you have to make 960, 80 years, of $1040 monthly payments.

      So tell me…WHO pays the extra $11,000 a year for all these Obamacare people…50 million of them? Who just pay the $1,000 a year penalty.

      “For tax year 2016, the penalty will rise to 2.5% of your total household adjusted gross income, or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, to a maximum of $2,085. For tax year 2017 and beyond, the percentage option will remain at 2.5%, but the flat fee will be adjusted for inflation.Oct 31, 2016”

      There’s $550,000,000,000…that’s $550 billion that needs to be made up SOMEHOW. Everyone’s rates go up. Is that fair? Should drunk drivers pay the same car ins. rates as you? Should speeders? Reckless drivers? No…they’re an increased risk/cost and SHOULD pay more. WHY should an insurance company HAVE to insure someone with a preexisting condition that costs $10,000 a month in treatments? For $1,000 a year in premiums…

      I know as a woman…you want to save ALL the misfortunates…you’d open a shelter for injured animals, open an orphanage…but you CAN’T and you SHOULDN’T try to save everyone.

      The system should be…the government ONLY takes care of vets and those unable and too poor to take care of themselves. EVERYONE else…buys insurance or self insures with their own money. The premium determined by risk with a reasonable profit…insurance should be like a utility.

  7. Total BS from a political hack. Obamacare has, on the whole, been very successful. And after 8 years, the GOP has no idea how to come up something better. Keep watching Fox News, Limbaugh and Hannity you silly sheep. They will tell you what to think.

    Not that Trumpers will believe this – it’s the”mainstream media” of course, which is the “enemy of the people”.

    • Steve, if Obamacare has been so successful, why is it failing now? Why is it about to implode? Even Clinton admits that. It’s kind of like putting nitro in your hot rod to win a street race and just as you are about a hundred yards from the finish line, your care explodes. It didn’t do what you needed it to do.

        • So Keith, you feel that the government should control private business? Isn’t that tantamount to being a socialist society? You feel that an insurance company should be MADE to supply a service, even when they are losing money? Do you know how much profit these health care insurance providers earn in a year? Not even close to a manufacturing business, or an import and export business, etc.

  8. Congressman Webster makes an interesting argument for what will be retained from the ACA but ignores what is being done to achieve those goals. More importantly, how the plan in work will get more uninsured into the program. Lastly, he fails to address the ‘financial’ reationale for leaving the ACA that those providers cited: lack of financial growth through increased rates. Ultimately, he does not give his preferred options so we the VOtTERS can assess his thinking on the subject and whether he is reflecting OUR views. He is — after all — our REPRESENTATIVE.

  9. Obummer care. A plan that got my daughter 30K in debt, causing her to have to file bankruptcy after being confronted with over excessive hospital and medical bills, not covered by Obummercare after having major surgery. (P.S. she had great insurance through her employer prior to being forced onto Obummercare).

    • And this is a prime example of what is the problem with it. Too many are under the illusion that everything will be “affordable” under the current ACA. It is for some because others are penalized.

      What is the point of trading one uninsured for another uninsured, as well?

    • A $30,000 debit is like buying a car. Either she didn’t try to pay or failed to make arrangements forcing her to go to a collection agency.

      So it’s okay for us to pick up her debt why not?

      I too had surgery spent week in hospital paid $300.00 monthly for employer provided plan, with $1,200 deductible. All bills paid no debt

      • Dana you miss the part where James said she was forced into the affordable healthcare system instead of her employer healthcare choice. Tons of companies eliminated people being able to have healthcare coverage through the group insurance policies when the affordable healthcare system came through. So James’s daughter obviously no longer had a group policy through her employer. Individual policies do not pay 100% of cost like a lot of the group policies do. Plus the majority have a very high deductible before they even start paying on the first penny. Consider yourself lucky if you still have a group policy! Unfortunately our government allowed these changes in insurance to happen. There was not too much broken before the policy went into effect. They should’ve just found a way to get pre-existing conditions covered by charging a higher premium to do so. The folks like myself that were on individual healthcare plans are the ones that got hurt the most by the affordable healthcare system! If I wanted healthcare coverage this year I would have to pay to pay in $20,000 before I got the first Penny paid! So if you are on a group policy or have Medicare, consider yourself very lucky!

        • No Debbie his daughter on a follow up post is on SOCIAL SECURITY obviously unemployed with part A Medicare then upgraded to part B if she had been on ACA her max deductible would have been $6800 ifor individual and $14000 for family approximated, so the $30,000 debt was highly exaggerated. With Medicare 80% of medical bill is paid the uncovered 20% would be $4,700 to $6,000 max payout!
          To many people throw out inaccurate facts regards to ACA.
          Premiums are one issue, deductibles are another hope you and your family do not need to use it. Again if you want to take the chance roll the dice!

      • I don’t think he inflated the issue, I think he just lied using some tea-party infused scandal sheet not based on facts. It is financially IMPOSSIBLE for his “daughter’s” situation to occur if she was truly insured under ACA.

    • And a reply to all respondents. She is on SSI. Body infused with Limes disease. (10 years). When she went to SSI, she was put on M-A. Someone failed to add M-B. Because of this, most of her hospital and surgical care was not covered. When the issue was pre-approached, she was advised that she had all the coverage she needed. Under her SSI, with both A and B, she would have been totally covered. Yes, she is now totally covered. However, broke and unable to work.

        • Yes James-
          Very sorry for her painful illness, but this is the scam of the healthcare industry. We as a society are so brainwashed into thinking that corporations can do no wrong, so it must be either the people or the government.

          When will Americans wake up and realize that unbridled predatory capitalism hurts all Americans in the 98%.

        • Dana.. you are correct.. this has nothing to do with the ACA . She left work basically because she was disabled . She should have been put on SSD if the symptoms were so severe that they kept her out of work.. it IS not an automatic approval, but it is recognized just like many other diseases.

    • When are you people going to stop calling this plan your favorite stupid name? For better or worse it’s the Affordable Care Act. When the changes are finally in place, you can then call it Trumpcare, which is what 45 has wanted all along…just another addition to his brand.

      • And Paula, even if it is known as TrumpCare, at least we know that it will work. Unlike the failed ObamaCare, named after a two term failed president. It is a shame that it did not work out, but they did not want any help with it, just rushed it through. They bet the whole Democrat nest egg on it and now they came up with snake eyes. Unfortunately, it was a very disastrous experiment. One that will ultimately hobble America for a few future generations.

  10. Thank you Congressman Webster for a well-written, concise letter explaining some of the problems with that terrible socialist plan and the plan to remedy the situation. I’m sure that the hundred or so screeching gender confused liberals here will join forces and respond with their carbon copy responses. Do not let the billionaire George Soros funded, organized opposition dissuade you and your colleagues from working with President MISTER The Donald Trump to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. Big money will not trump (pun intended) the will of the people. Show the democrits and their billionaire paymasters that this is the people’s country!