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Cotton, McCain, Sasse, Flake, Johnson & Barrasso Introduce Bill to Protect Americans from Collapse of Obamacare

September 7, 2016

Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), along with Senators Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) today introduced the Protection from Obamacare Monopolies Act, legislation that would protect all individuals who live in a county with one or no health care insurers offering plans on the Obamacare exchanges from the individual mandate penalty.

"Instead of lowering costs, Obamacare has made things worse: insurance companies across the country are fleeing the exchange market at an alarming rate, premiums have skyrocketed, and networks have become more narrow. Obamacare is in a death spiral. What's worse, Obamacare will impose a fine on countless individuals who no longer have affordable insurance options in their county," said Senator Cotton. "Hard-working Americans shouldn't face more taxes because President Obama's Obamacare hopes and dreams failed. This bill will provide much needed relief from the Obamacare Mandate penalty and allow Americans to purchase coverage they can afford and that actually meets their healthcare needs."

"With Phoenix Health Plans, Inc.'s exit from the Obamacare marketplace last week, nearly all of Arizona's counties are now left with either one or no options when it comes to health insurance under Obamacare," said Senator McCain. "This legislation would ensure that Arizonans are not forced to pay a penalty due to the failure of a healthcare system that was fatally flawed from conception. This failed law will only continue to place undue burdens on Arizona families unless we replace it with solutions that put patients back in charge of their health care."

"As Obamacare continues to crumble, here's the administration's cruel choice for millions of Americans next year: pay Washington's mandate or bite the bullet and pay the only insurance company available on the exchange in your county," said Senator Sasse. "Our simple legislation spares moms and dads from Obamacare's raw deal. For months we've sounded the alarm about Obamacare's lousy choices and unaffordable prices-this whole mess must be repealed but, if Democrats keep trying to defend the indefensible, we should at least help those who are hurt the most."

"Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster in Arizona," said Senator Flake. "The exchanges for 13 of the state's 15 counties are devoid of competition because they are left with only a single insurer willing to sell coverage. Another county's exchange has the dubious distinction of being the first in the nation to be completely abandoned by providers. As the administration continues to defend this failed law, we will not wait around for them to fix its mess, which is why we have introduced this legislation to help protect those in Arizona and across the country from unjustifiable financial penalties when they are left without healthcare options."

"The definition of ‘marketplace' is an economic system in which companies compete with each other to sell their products. It leads to lower prices, higher quality, and a higher level of customer service," said Senator Johnson. "The Obamacare definition of marketplace, by contrast, has resulted in a failed government system that reduces competition and its benefits. Under Obamacare, Wisconsinites can be penalized for not buying a company's product, even when there is only one company selling it. This legislation would help ensure that Wisconsin families won't have to pay a penalty to help cover the cost of Obamacare's failed promise of consumer choice."

"A majority of Americans have two or fewer options on the Obamacare exchanges, and 31 percent have only one option," said Senator Barrasso. "When there's only one option, that's not a marketplace, it's a monopoly. This bill provides desperately needed relief for those who are hit the hardest."

Background: According to Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly one-third of all counties have only one insurance company offering health care plans in the Obamacare marketplace.

Click here to read the full text of the bill.