The writer, a Republican, is the U.S. House representative for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, serving since 1999.
Remember when a promise actually meant something?
At the heart of our democracy is an unspoken covenant between the American people and the representatives they elect.
The entire success of the great experiment we call America lives and dies with the trust of the people in the public servants they elect.
I guess the difference between a public servant and a politician is that, to us, promises matter. To politicians, they are just phrases of political convenience.
The president promised all of us that if you liked your health care plan, you could keep it. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, that promise, along with the trust placed in the president, has been irrevocably broken.
There are real-life consequences that are being felt by working Americans who, quite frankly, couldn’t care less about the Beltway gamesmanship of who’s up and who’s down.
This is a real-life situation.
Here in Omaha, Andrea Kodad is one of those people. Her health care plan that she liked has been canceled and replaced with the rate shock of the president’s health care plan.
Andrea is like many of the constituents I’m hearing from. A working mom with two young children, she has seen her family’s premium rise to $770 from $450. Her out-of-pocket costs rose more than $2,000, to $12,700 — all the while, Andrea is left paying more for less. To have a plan with comparable coverage, her monthly premium would be nearly $1,200 — or, as she said, more than her mortgage.
Unfortunately, under the president’s health care plan, Andrea’s real-life situation isn’t an isolated incident — it’s quickly becoming the new norm.
That’s why I joined my colleagues to sponsor the Keep Your Health Plan Act. This common-sense piece of legislation would fulfill the president’s promise by letting people like Andrea keep their plans.
The Keep Your Health Plan Act would permit health insurers that have health insurance coverage on the individual markets to continue offering their plans outside of the marketplaces that were established under the Affordable Care Act. This bill would grandfather individual health plans for individuals for the purposes of meeting the requirement to maintain minimum essential health coverage under the new law.
This isn’t just a Republican issue. President Clinton has said, “Even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they’ve got.”
Momentum is growing with Senate Democrats, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who announced her support of similar legislation introduced by four other Senate Democrats.
Countless Americans are facing uncertainty regarding the future of their families’ health care plan — this is too important to let the politics of Washington stand in their way.
This is a fairness issue.
Americans like Andrea shouldn’t be taxed or penalized for not buying a policy they don’t want, from a website that doesn’t work.
Republicans and Democrats can work together, and are, on solutions to make sure that the promise made that “if you like your plan, you can keep it” is a promise kept.
The bottom line is that you deserve better than empty promises and excuses. You — not Washington — should have control over your health decisions.
Congress should go line-by-line, dollar-by-dollar and ensure that the American people are protected from the consequences of the president’s health care plan.
It’s time for Washington to put politics aside and pursue common-sense solutions such as the Keep Your Health Act.
Across this country, people like Andrea are waiting for a leadership moment — for action. The president and supporters of his health care law will say all the right things about how hard they’re working to fix what’s broken, but at this point, do you really believe anything they have to say?