BOUNTIFUL — Speculation that health insurance rates could escalate 50 to 100 percent would mean “the lower end will feel the pain most.”
Sen. Mike Lee talked about the Affordable Care Act and other current issues in a meeting with the Davis Clipper Editorial Board last week.
“A lot of people are having their hours reduced or losing their jobs to meet the mandate,” he said.
That’s based on the fact that insurance requirements will depend somewhat on the number of full-time workers a company employs.
A lot of people are seeing the so-called American Dream slip away, he said.
Lee proposes health plans that would be portable, or could move with an employee when he or she changes jobs.
He believes that factor alone would help keep insurance costs in check.
Market forces as the best way to control those costs, Lee said, citing the cut in costs for laser eye surgery, down to as low as $800 an eye from many thousands of dollars.
Having the government in the place of a payer setting arbitrary reimbursement rates can mean trouble, he said.
For example, a reimbursement rate may be so low it doesn’t cover a procedure’s overhead.
With the large employer insurance mandate for firms above 50 workers put back a year, people may be forced to turn to insurance exchanges.
Some people may understate their incomes to receive a higher reimbursement, for example, Lee said.
Emphasizing this is a bipartisan issue, he said the health care act shouldn’t be funded if the law isn’t followed.
Only about a dozen senators are in board to fight the law’s implementation, he said.
Meanwhile, nearly 700,000 signatures had been collected in on an online effort to fight the law’s implementation.
“I don’t want to shut down the government,” Lee emphasized, contrary to previous reports.
But a decision to raise the debt ceiling above $17 trillion is now facing Congress in October, rather than a few months later. That begs a need to seriously evaluate the role of the federal government, he said.
“A lot of our solutions are questions for the states,” the first-term senator said. “I’m a federalist. I want decisions made at the appropriate level.”
That could mean different solutions to issues in different states, he said.
“If we don’t get a smooth glide to balancing the budget within five to 10 years, we will hit a physical avalanche,” Lee said.
Such solutions as printing more money won’t work, he said.
A short-term economic boost would end up crippling the economy in the end, even shrinking it, Lee said.
Meanwhile, immigration reform is a must, he said. Years of waiting for a visa must end.
“Millions of people would like to come into this country,” he said.