09:21 GMT28 March 2020
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    Vice President-Elect Mike Pence suggested that "power of the free market" would make healthcare more affordable for citizens across the United States.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The American people want the newly elected Congress to scrap the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and begin designing a new healthcare system that will expand competition among insurance companies as a solution to ever rising costs to consumers, Pence told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.

    “The American people want us to start over,” Pence said. “Releasing the power of the free market is the pathway toward expanding access and affordability of health care across the country.”

    Obamacare, outgoing President Barack Obama’s signature health reform initiative, relies on government-run exchanges in which insurance companies sell policies to individuals and families that lack employer-provided health insurance plans.

    In many US states, private insurance companies pulled out of exchanges in 2017 after suffering heavy losses in 2016. With fewer companies selling policies, insurance costs soared this year.

    The cheapest plans available through Obamacare exchanges average about $5,000 in annual premiums with deductibles of about $12,000, meaning that consumers face $12,000 in out-of-pocket costs each year before their policies take effect.

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