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October 05, 2016

Inhofe Statement on 76% Increase in Oklahomans' Obamacare Premiums for 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) released the following statement on the announcement that Oklahomans’ healthcare premiums on the ObamaCare exchange will increase by 76 percent in fiscal year 2017:

“Democrats said the goal of ObamaCare was to address access and affordability of healthcare, yet Oklahomans and a majority of Americans have experienced the opposite. For the second year in a row, Oklahoma will have one of the highest premium increases in the nation, with residents expecting to see an average increase of 76 percent for those on the exchange. Democrats told the nation that ObamaCare’s exchanges would promote competition between nonprofit health insurers receiving federal funding and private, for-profit insurers as a way to lower prices for all. Instead, healthcare insurers have not been able to afford to keep their doors open to Oklahomans. More than half of non-profit co-ops have gone under across the nation, leaving hundreds of thousands of Americans uninsured, searching for new healthcare or facing steep penalties form the federal government. Private insurers are also dropping out of the exchange all together, leaving Americans with fewer choices for medical care. By 2017, Oklahoma is slated to only have one insurer on the exchange. This is what happens when federal regulations overtake an industry. The Republican-led Congress has sent a full repeal of ObamaCare to the president’s desk. While this effort was vetoed, I firmly believe that the only solution to fix our healthcare system is to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with common sense, market-driven solutions. I have put my name behind many legislative vehicles that have been introduced by my colleagues this year to dismantle this disastrous law and to offer solutions for what can be done under the right administration.”

In the 114th Congress, Inhofe has cosponsored the following pieces of legislation in the Senate:


ObamaCare Tax Relief and Consumer Choice Act (S.3297) would create a new individual mandate exemption if the average premium for self-only coverage or family coverage for the second-lowest cost silver plan is more than 10 percent greater than the previous year.


Protection from ObamaCare Monopolies Act (S. 3296) would create a new individual mandate exemption for residents in counties where one or fewer ACA-compliant, individual insurance issuers exist.


Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act (S.2045) would repeal the excise tax on employer-sponsored health care coverage for which there is an excess benefit (also called the Cadillac tax). A 2-year delay of the Cadillac tax was included in the 2015 appropriations bill.


PACE Act (S. 1099) keeps the “small group market’” definition as businesses with 1-50 employees instead of expanding it to 51-100 employees. It’s companion legislation, H.R. 1624, was passed by Congress and signed into law.


Preserving Freedom and Choice in Health Care Act (S.1016) would repeal the requirements for individuals to maintain minimum essential coverage and for large employers to pay penalties if a full-time employee: (1) must wait longer than 60 days to enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan, or (2) receives a premium assistance tax credit or reduced cost-sharing. Coverage reporting requirements for providers and large employers are also repealed.


Obamacare Repeal Act (S.336would repeal the Affordable Care Act.


Employer Mandate Repeal (S. 305) would repeal the federal mandate on employers to offer health insurance.


Critical Access Hospital Relief Act (S.258) would repeal the 96-hour physician certification requirement for inpatient critical access hospital services under which a physician must certify that a patient may reasonably be expected to be discharged or transferred to a hospital within 96 hours after admission to the critical access hospital.


American Liberty Restoration Act (Repeal Individual Mandate) (S. 203) would repeal provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requiring individuals to purchase health insurance. 


Jobs and Premium Protection Act (Health Insurance Tax Repeal) (S. 183) would repeal the health insurance tax (HIT) mandated by the ACA. The health care law mandated a fixed sum tax on the sale of health insurance written in the fully-insured market, which is where many small businesses find themselves.



Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act (S. 149) would amend the Internal Revenue Code to repeal the excise tax on medical device manufacturers and importers.A two year delay of the medical device tax was included in P.L. 114-113, which Sen. Inhofe supported.


Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act (Repeal IPAB) (S. 141) would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), an unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats to make additional cuts to the Medicare program based on arbitrary global budget targets. Funding for this program was zeroed out for FY2016 in P.L. 114-113, which Sen. Inhofe supported. 

Obamacare Taxpayer Bailout Prevention Act (S. 123) would repeal section 1342 of Obamacare, which provides for the risk corridors to distribute money from exchange plans that earned profits to exchange plans that suffered losses.This provision of Obamacare was defunded for FY2016 in P.L. 114-113, which Sen. Inhofe supported.


Helping Individuals Regain Employment Act (S. 38) would amend the Internal Revenue Code to exclude from the definition of "full-time employee," for purposes of the employer mandate to provide minimum essential health care coverage, any individual who is a long-term unemployed individual. Defines "long-term unemployed individual" as an individual who begins employment after enactment of this Act and has been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer.


Forty Hours Is Full Time Act (S. 30would amend the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to the employer mandate to provide health care coverage, to: (1) modify the formula for calculating the number of full-time employees employed by an applicable large employer subject to the mandate; and (2) define a "full-time employee" as an employee who is employed on average at least 40 hours per week (currently, 30 hours).


Hire More Heroes Act (S. 12) would amend the Internal Revenue Code to add a provision to exempt any employee with coverage under a health care program administered by the Department of Defense, including the TRICARE program, or by the Veterans Administration, from classification as an eligible employee of an applicable large employer for purposes of the employer mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide such employees with minimum essential health care coverage. S. 12 was enacted as a part of P.L. 114-41, which Sen. Inhofe supported.

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