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For years, North Dakotans have struggled with the rising cost of health care. Last year, when Congress was negotiating the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Kevin Cramer and his cohorts promised that they had one goal in mind: bringing down insurance premiums. Period. No questions asked.

But when his caucus unveiled their health care plan, many Americans were left scratching their heads: After years of railing against the ACA and promising that they would finally rein in the cost of health care, many Americans would actually see their premiums rise under the new system?

The Republican plan basically created two insurance markets. One would provide cheap, skimpy programs that could cover few, if any, medical costs. The other would provide standard coverage, but with drastically higher monthly payments. Basically, Americans would be faced with an ultimatum: Pay us more for your health insurance or don’t expect your medical care to be covered.

Most estimates suggested that health insurance premiums for many Americans would increase by as much as 20 percent. Conservatives said their bill would bring down the cost of insurance for families. But when the time came to make good on their promise, the ACHA failed at its one and only job.

James Allen, Bismarck

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