Statehouse
5:44 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Schock Blames Insurance Mandates For Premium Hikes

Congressman Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, gathered at an auto body shop in Springfield with businessmen and women upset about their health insurance premiums rising, which they blame on the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  After Republicans' efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act did not work, Congressman Aaron Schock says lawmakers need to lift requirements on insurance policies. Today (Nov. 11) he toured his district, in an attempt to prove his point.

Amanda Vinicky reports on Congressman Schock's plans to vote for the Keep Your Healthcare Plan Act this week

Congressman Aaron Schock, R - Peoria, says the Affordable Care Act was supposed to make health insurance more affordable, "and yet millions of Americans are seeing their health insurance do exactly the opposite -- and that is to go up."

Schock says problems extend well beyond issues with the website which have kept people from shopping for insurance plans. He says a major issue is that the Affordable Care Act mandates what policies must cover:

"Why shouldn't these American citizens with their own taxpayer dollar be able to go out and buy whatever health insurance they want? From whatever health insurance company that's available to sell whatever health insurance plan they want to sell? That's the private marketplace," he says. "This is really social engineering at its best for the federal government to come in and tell people 'I'm sorry, your health insurance isn't good enough, you're plan that you've got is inadequate, and oh by the way we're going to raise your premium to boot.' "

Shock used himself as an example: "I think individuals should be able to buy the health insurance that they want. I don't think that I should have to buy maternity coverage. I'm a single male. I'm not going to get pregnant any time soon. I don't have a spouse. Why should I have to buy maternity coverage?"

Schock also gathered people who say they've personally seen their insurance premiums skyrocket since the law was passed, like Tony Kulavic, who owns an auto body shop in Springfield. Kulavic says he's always paid for the bulk of his ten employees' health care costs. He says he can renew that policy now, but he says he's been quoted a 150-percent increase -- from $19,000 a year to $47,000 -- to keep that plan in the future.

"It's going to be a tough decision what we're going to do as a business to try to provide insurance for 'me, or even if we can afford to provide insurance for them. We're still in meetings about it, what we're going to do about it," Kulavic says.

Kulavic says he has shopped the plans offered on the insurance exchange, but he can only get as far as a quote; he says the website gives him trouble when he tries to get details.

Congressman Schock says he expects that Friday, the U.S. House will pass a plan that will allow insurers to continue offering their existing policies, without heed to Affordable Care Act requirements.

Backers of the federal health care overhaul say it ensures adequate coverage -- and offer stories of people with insurance who've gone bankrupt when faced with a major medical emergency. Advocates also point out that insurers are now required to cover mental health on par with traditional, physical health care coverage.