Lt. Governor Cagle: The Prescription for Obamacare

This is an op-ed from the Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, Casey Cagle. 

This week marks seven years since Obamacare was signed into law. Leading up to the passage of the 2,700-page legislation, Nancy Pelosi announced: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Although much has been made of Pelosi’s dismissive remarks, it’s true that it took years for Obamacare to take root. The prognosis is now painfully clear: Obamacare is failing Georgia.

Over the past seven years, the federal government has imposed mandate after mandate to socialize our health care system. In fact, several thousand pages of regulations have been issued to support its misguided directives.

Along with the billions of dollars in tax increases shouldered by consumers, the law has failed to keep its promises. Year after year, our families are subjected to double-digit premium increases, with rising deductibles and increasingly fewer choices. In my hometown, Gainesville’s insurance market has seen annual premiums rise by up to 22%. Obamacare has ultimately led to a deteriorating health care system and runaway costs.

Under its restrictive requirements, small businesses have been penalized – and even threatened with bankruptcy. I often hear from small business owners who’ve been forced to shift full-time employees to part time schedules or reduce their wages to comply with Obamacare’s complex web of regulations.

Is it fair to harm the very people who are driving our economic engines? We should be incentivizing entrepreneurs to grow jobs, giving more people opportunities to climb up the economic ladder – not penalizing the small businesses who are creating new jobs in our communities.

We have a monumental opportunity to reform our health care system. As we plan for the future, we must put our patients first by repealing and replacing Obamacare. For Georgia to build a free market health care system that truly works for our state, we must bring this debate outside the beltway of Washington D.C.

In January, I brought together members of our state Senate to create Georgia’s Health Care Reform Task Force. Our goal is to take advantage of freedom from the federal government to promote a more sustainable system that meets the needs of Georgians – at prices we can all afford.

As our work unfolds, we will focus on addressing three major elements:

First, we’ll reform Medicaid so it serves as a springboard rather than a landing pad. That means empowering more people with opportunities to become self-sufficient and obtain better jobs with higher salaries. Our Medicaid enrollees must also have primary care physicians to get the preventative care they need to stay healthy.

Second, I am committed to ensuring that those with pre-existing conditions have access to quality care. We have to make certain Georgia has a balanced insurance market so no matter where you call home, you can afford the care you deserve.

Finally, by exercising both new and existing waivers, we will control costs and inspire new delivery models that best serve every region of our state. Whether you get insurance through an employer or buy it on your own – all Georgians should have access to affordable, high quality health care. We will stay true to our core principles of fiscal responsibility and we will achieve true conservative health care reform.

My hope is for the State of Georgia to be recognized as a national leader in pioneering innovative solutions, which strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and guide everyone to live healthier lives.


16 thoughts on “Lt. Governor Cagle: The Prescription for Obamacare”

  1. I said this a few weeks back, both sides have turned healthcare into a political battlefield and it’s far too complex and complicated to ever turn out as as “my side won!” event.

    Republicans had 7 years and I think its clear they’ve not come up with a magic bullet to “fix” Obamacare. The ACA is pretty flawed and Democrats thinking its gospel are digging their heels in to save face. Give it up folks.

    I know its terrible and everyone hates these “Gang of 8” type scenarios, but some bipartisan group of ex-legislators/health policy experts/doctors/etc. should create the new healthcare system in the United States. Congress will up or down vote the entire package (no riders or amendments) and we’ll probably end up with some form of healthcare that looks similar to Germany or Canada.

    America will be better off for it. And the first 2 years of presidencies aren’t damned to “fix healthcare” for the rest of our lives.

    1. I’m continually amazed that anyone thinks single-payer or public insurance would ever, in any circumstance, get Republican votes. House Republicans just rejected as too liberal a bill that actually leaves more people uninsured than straight repeal of Obamacare would! And yet, we’re somehow going to get bipartisan support for a Canadian or German system?

  2. Sounds like an op-ed from a Lt. Governor running for governor but it would be more effective if it contained a few specifics. For instance, should Medicaid be block granted and should Medicaid users have a copay?

  3. First off, the law isnt failing even though republicans have tried to undermine it (Marco Rubio blocking funds that were promised to insurers for mitigating risk) according to CBO analysis. Second, please be specific. Which small businesses are failing because of this law. The mandate doesnt affect any business that has less than 50 employees. Tax increases crushing consumers?…nope just the upper income consumers who are hardly being crushed.
    Fourth, this law seemed to work really well in states that actually tried to make it work. Not too many people in KY complain about it last I checked. This bit of propaganda the Lt Gov. is spewing is nothing short of lies told for political expedience. Is that what you want in an elected official. I dont.

    1. Living the lie is thinking Rubio took something away from insurers. The reserve funds were used up and the requests for billions more from taxpayers didn’t fly as that was never the plan or the promise in Obamacare.

      1. That’s not quite right. The risk corridors were a temporary measure to stabilize premiums as insurance companies tried to figure out how to price plans for people they previously wouldn’t have insured at all. Insurers that overpriced their plans by more than a certain amount would pay user fees into the pool, and insurers that underpriced their plans would be compensated from the pool.

        The question was, what to do when there’s a deficit, that is, if underpriced insurers were claiming more money from the pool than overpriced insurers were putting into it? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed to pay it out of their budget and make up the deficit in later years, as the CBO had forecasted the risk corridors to break even over the life of the program, through 2016.

        Instead, Congress passed a rider to their appropriations bill, starting in 2014, which stated that CMS could not tap any extra money in its budget to fund risk corridors — it was restricted to paying out only the receipts from user fees. This action either destabilized the marketplace and caused insurers to withdraw (or even collapse, in some cases), or it merely blocked any administrative workaround for a real flaw that already existed in the ACA. Take your pick.

        The really interesting thing about your comment is that CMS specifically did NOT want to “request billions more from taxpayers.” The agency simply wanted to reallocate funds within its own budget to operate the risk corridors through 2016, as intended in the original statute. *Rubio* interpreted the provision as requiring the agency to request additional funding from Congress to offset any deficits in the risk corridor pool for any given year, and then pushed the House to block any appropriations for this purpose. And if that’s *all* they’d done, CMS could have reallocated budget to fund the risk corridors, but of course, Congress went one step further and blocked that remedy as well. Then Rubio took his victory lap and joined the Republican chorus howling about sharp premium increases and insurers withdrawing from the marketplace.

        Good politics, I guess, but poor governance — a trend that continues with the GOP’s now-deceased effort to “repeal and replace” the ACA.

  4. In my hometown, Gainesville’s insurance market has seen annual premiums rise by up to 22%

    I’m willing to bet the vast majority of those folks also got an increased subsidy to cover the entire premium increase.

  5. “Obamacare is failing Georgia.” Georgia choose not only did nothing to adopt it but has resisted anything to do with it.

    “Over the past seven years…” and it’s now time to bring “together members of our state Senate to create Georgia’s Health Care Reform Task Force” that likely won’t be able to produce anything useful and significant to be implemented until the 2018 Cagle’s campaign is underway, or more likely the election over. Trust him. He delivered on transportation.

    Sans commenting on changes in relative trajectory, “Year after year, our families are subjected to double-digit premium increases, with rising deductibles and increasingly fewer choices” had largely been happening for two decades preceding Obamacare.

    Given the US healthcare system for non-poor adults less than 65 years of age has been employer-based for 50 years, small business owners off-loading their employees healthcare costs on the general budget are what some would call moochers.

    1. If the past 17 days (and, if we’re being honest, the last 7 years) have taught me anything, it’s that the bulk of Republican elected officials are either lying about Obamacare or have absolutely no clue how the law actually works. Not sure which camp Cagle is in.

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