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How House Republicans’ Health Care Plan Helps Middle Class Families

August 25, 2016

Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law over six years ago, we’ve seen the cost of insurance skyrocket as quality and health care options continue to decline. And middle class families are being hurt the most by the law’s clear failures.  

The average premium for families enrolled in employer-sponsored coverage has increased to more than $17,000 per year, a growth of over 27 percent since 2010. And the average proposed hike on the Obamacare exchanges for 2017 is 24 percent—if Americans are able to find a subsidized plan at all. The current landscape is far from the President’s empty promise that every American family would see a premium cut of $2,500 per year.

Because of the way Obamacare was written, as the cost of health insurance continues to rise, many middle class families do not receive any financial support. Instead, they have to foot the bill for the law’s mandates and tax hikes. As one health scholar so aptly put it:

“[The law’s] benefits are narrowly distributed, while its costs are widely felt.”  

Here’s an example: 

A middle class family of four in living in a suburb outside of Houston, TX, is making a combined annual income just under $98,000. This family earns too much to qualify for any assistance under Obamacare but, like so many families, is struggling to keep up with rising insurance costs. Meanwhile, the largest insurer in the state is projecting an average 58 percent premium hike for their three individual market plans while another issuer is exiting the Obamacare exchange market all together.

That leaves this family with few options. Of the plans that are offered, most have narrowed options for doctors and other providers and critical specialty hospitals like those that treat cancer often have been pushed out of network. As a result, the family is forced to pay more for a lesser-quality plan with fewer options or forgo coverage altogether and pay the tax penalty—one of the dozens of tax hikes levied on hardworking Americans to pay for the failing health care law. 

That example is not unique. Millions of middle-income earners across the country are living through the same unfortunate reality because of Obamacare. It’s no wonder many of them are rejecting what the President is selling. As the Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip explains:

“According to Avalere, a health-care consulting firm, enrollment drops sharply as subsidies shrink: 81% of people earning between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty level and eligible to enroll did so in 2016; just 2% of those earning more than 400% did. ‘The more consumers must pay themselves for what the ACA is offering, the less attractive they find it,’ notes a report by 10 health policy experts, including Mr. Roy, issued by the conservative American Enterprise Institute last December.” 

Not only are families’ premiums rising under Obamacare. Their cost of care is rising as well as a result of the law’s $1 trillion in tax hikes. For example, the new taxes on drug manufacturers and importers and medical device manufacturers make it hard for middle class families to afford particular prescriptions and treatment.

To make matters worse, Obamacare has made it harder for middle income earners to pay for these increased expenses. The law’s employer mandate has forced job creators to reduce their employees’ hours or wages

On top of that, Obamacare’s policies have made the future for all Americans—including those in the middle class— even more uncertain as they watch Medicare move closer to insolvency. Rather than try to save Medicare—a program Americans have paid into their entire working lives and expect to be there when they reach retirement— Obamacare raided this important program for over $800 billion to fund the law’s massive new entitlement program. It also established new unelected and unaccountable bureaucratic entities to dictate Medicare policies, putting in jeopardy the quality, access, and choices on which millions of seniors rely.

But there’s a better way. Under House Republicans’ health care plan, middle class families will have:

  • Lower costs, higher quality, and expanded access. The House Republican health care plan breaks down the regulatory and statutory barriers that drive up health care and insurance costs. Instead, we establish a more flexible insurance market, where individuals and states, not the federal government, are in charge of picking the right plans; medical providers are able to deliver care at an affordable cost; and insurers are able to innovate and develop new plan designs. The choice and competition fostered by our policies will lower costs, increase quality, and expand access to providers.
  • Greater flexibility. The House Republican health care plan, for the first time, provides middle income families access to universal, portable, financial support they can use to shop around and purchase the right health insurance. This money will be available to middle class families as they progress through their lives—when a parent leaves his job to start his own business, when the kids go off to college, or when the mother and father reach retirement age.
  • Peace of mind about the future. The House Republican health care plan repeals the most damaging Obamacare policies that stripped Medicare of billions of dollars and limited seniors’ access to quality care. Instead, we include reforms to preserve and strengthen Medicare so it can continue to serve today’s seniors as well as serve future generations of seniors. Our plan will give Americans confidence that a more personalized, sustainable program will be there for them, with private options and more choice.


Obamacare is failing. And, as we’ve pointed out over the last few weeks, it’s failing Americans of all walks of life. Ways and Means Republicans refuse to settle for this status quo and are working to ensure more Americans have affordable, accessible, patient-centered health care.

CLICK HERE to read how our plan helps America’s seniors.
CLICK HERE to read how our plan helps young Americans.
CLICK HERE to read 3 ways our plan improves the lives of all Americans.
CLICK HERE to read the full plan.