Columns

An Update on the Health Care Debate

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Washington, March 24, 2017 | Beth Breeding (202-225-5431) | comments
Seven years ago, the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, became law. With it came the unaffordable premiums, higher deductibles, and lack of choice and access that far too many folks in the Sixth District and across the country have experienced firsthand. Now, more than ever, it is clear that Obamacare is collapsing. Many insurers are leaving the exchanges and costs for families continue to rise.

That’s why I have voted dozens of times to defund, dismantle, or repeal Obamacare and supported alternative health care proposals. There is a better way to enact health care reform than Obamacare – one that repeals onerous mandates, invites competition and choice, and lowers costs. While I am disappointed that legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare failed to make it across the finish line this week, this process is far from over. Congress must continue working to come to a consensus on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all.

Meanwhile, over the past several days, the House debated and passed two bipartisan bills that are an important part of creating a more affordable, accessible health care system for Americans. Under Obamacare’s mandates, many small businesses have been hit particularly hard. In fact, the National Federation of Independent Business found that the top challenge facing small businesses last year was the rising cost of health care. One health care solution that I have long supported is allowing small businesses to increase their buying power by banding together to purchase insurance for their employees. The Small Business Health Fairness Act does this by allowing small businesses to come together across state lines to purchase insurance through association health plans. Breaking down such barriers makes it easier for small businesses to access more affordable coverage options. This legislation helps these employers gain greater bargaining power with insurance providers, setting them on a more even playing field with larger businesses, and lowers the administrative costs and paperwork they face as well.

The second bill, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act, went through the House Judiciary Committee, which I chair, and focuses on making health insurance companies compete in the free market. In 1945, Congress passed the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which exempts the business of insurance from federal antitrust regulation. The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act would repeal this exemption for health insurance and help encourage a robust and competitive health insurance market in which insurance providers actively compete for customers. Healthy competition ensures that customers are able to find a variety of policies to meet their specific needs and demands.

While these bills are important parts of repairing America’s health care system, we must still repeal and replace Obamacare. I will continue to work in the House to maintain my commitment to the people of the Sixth District to repeal Obamacare and support patient-centered health care reform. Obamacare must not remain the law of the land.
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