The American Health Care Act is a Better Way Forward

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Washington, May 5, 2017 | Beth Breeding (202-225-5431) | comments
The time to act is now. Since Obamacare was signed into law, I have told folks in the Sixth District that I would stand with them to repeal it. That is exactly why I supported the American Health Care Act (AHCA). With this bill, Congress has a real opportunity to fix the health insurance system and put patients back in charge of their health care.

Why repeal Obamacare? If the double-digit increases in premiums and high deductibles as well as the loss of access to health care providers experienced by many Americans aren’t enough reasons, here’s another: Obamacare is collapsing. Just days ago, Aetna announced that it will exit Virginia’s Obamacare insurance marketplace, leaving an estimated 27 counties with only one insurer to pick from in 2018. Iowans are on the verge of having no insurers participating in the marketplace next year at all. Unfortunately, this is the trend across the country. The insurance exchanges created by this law are failing, leaving Americans with dwindling insurance choices. It’s easy to see why this mess of big government mandates and red tape has not provided the health care solutions so many families need.

There are many positive reforms included in the AHCA, from expanding health savings accounts by nearly doubling the amount you can contribute to providing more options of how to save and spend your hard-earned money. This bill dismantles Obamacare taxes, penalties, and mandates, like the individual mandate that forces Americans to purchase health insurance whether they want it or not. It also helps young people access health insurance and modernizes and strengthens Medicaid. The AHCA aids Americans in accessing affordable health care by providing a tax credit for low and middle income families who don’t receive insurance through employers or other programs. This allows them to purchase private coverage of their choice.

Under the AHCA, insurers are prohibited from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition. In fact, the plan takes careful steps to ensure that these important protections are maintained. Furthermore, the Upton-Long Amendment strengthens the AHCA’s pre-existing conditions protections by providing an additional $8 billion to help reduce premiums or out-of-pocket costs for those who may have a pre-existing condition. Additionally, contrary to what you may hear, the House also passed a bill to ensure that Members of Congress and congressional staff will be treated the same way as any other citizen under the AHCA.

The status quo cannot continue when we know that we as a nation can do better. I firmly believe that the American Health Care Act is a better way forward. As the Senate begins consideration of this bill, I urge them to keep the process moving. Passing the AHCA is a major step in repealing Obamacare and ensuring Americans have access to affordable health care.
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