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Health Care Reform


American Health Care Act

On May 4, 2017, I voted in support of the "American Health Care Act," (AHCA), which repeals and replaces much of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” also known as Obamacare. I also voted for another bill, H.R. 2192, that ensures that provisions in the AHCA apply to Members of Congress and congressional staff. This bill will not touch Medicare benefits in any way.

In order to pass the Senate, this bill was considered under a special procedure that directly affects spending and revenue. Additional legislation will repeal and replace other portions of Obamacare and the new Administration will change many of the regulations associated with Obamacare.

The bill that the House passed does not reduce or change in any way current Medicare benefits. The bill will increase Medicare payments to hospitals that serve a higher than average percentage of uninsured patients. However, health coverage benefits to Medicare beneficiaries are not altered.

Below is more information about what the AHCA does.

If you have questions about this process or other issues please contact me by phone, letter, email, Facebook, and Twitter.

What the Bill Does

•  Dismantles the Obamacare taxes that have hurt job creators, increased premium, costs, and limited options for patients and health care providers including taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, health-insurance premiums, and medical devices.

•  Eliminates the Obamacare mandated penalties for individuals and employers;

•  Prohibits health insurers from denying coverage to patients based on pre-existing conditions.

•  Helps young adults access health insurance and stabilize the marketplace by allowing dependents to continue staying on their parents’ plan until they are 26.  

•  Establishes a Patient and State Stability Fund, which provides states with $100 billion to design programs that meet the unique needs of their patient populations and help low-income Americans afford health care.

•  Modernizes and strengthenes Medicaid  by transitioning to a “per capita allotment” so states can better serve the patients most in need.

•  Empoweres individuals and families to spend their health care dollars the way they want and need by enhancing and expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)—nearly doubling the amount of money people can contribute and broadening how people can use it.

•  Helps Americans access affordable, quality health care by providing a monthly tax credit—between $2,000 and $14,000 a year—for low- and middle-income individuals and families who don’t receive insurance through work or a government program.

You can read the current bill and find more information at www.readthebill.gop.

Myths vs. Facts

Myth #1: This bill does not cover pre-existing conditions. 

FACT: The AHCA explicitly maintains protections for pre-existing conditions. NO STATE, under ANY circumstances, may ever obtain a waiver for guaranteed issue of coverage, guaranteed renewability of coverage, or the prohibition on denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions. The amendment specifically clarifies that its provisions cannot be construed as allowing insurers to limit coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. All of these protections will remain the law. 

Myth #2: This bill will price those with pre-existing conditions out of the market, making health care unaffordable for them. 

FACT: The AHCA’s limited waiver for health rating requires states to set up a program for high-risk individuals or premium stabilization, or to participate in the federal invisible risk sharing program. No state may obtain a waiver for health status unless it has taken these efforts to protect those who might be affected. In states with a waiver, individuals who maintain continuous coverage could not be rated based on health status. 

Myth #3: High-risk pools have traditionally been underfunded by states and the federal government, resulting in poor coverage and high costs for those who need insurance the most. 

FACT: The AHCA sets aside $100 billion over ten years to help states with high-risk pools and other innovations. It sets aside an additional $15 billion specifically for maternity care, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment. And it sets aside an ADDITIONAL $15 billion for a federal invisible risk-sharing program -- another innovative way to help people access affordable coverage. 

Myth #4: Under this bill, States do not have to cover essential health benefits. 

FACT: The AHCA ensures essential health benefits are the federal law of the land and maintains other important protections. States have the option to obtain a waiver regarding federal essential health benefits, but the state must publicly attest its purpose for doing so (to reduce the cost of health care coverage, increase the number of people with health care coverage, etc.) and it must specify the benefits it will require instead of the federal standard. NO STATE, under ANY circumstances, may ever obtain a waiver for pre-existing condition protection, prohibition on gender discrimination, for guaranteed issue and renewability, or for the right of dependents to stay on a family plan up to age 26.  

Myth #5: 129 Million Americans have pre-existing conditions and could be denied coverage. 

FACT: This legislation addresses the 7 percent of Americans on the individual market, and those in the small group market. Anyone with employer-provided coverage or government coverage (Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VA benefits, etc.) would not be affected. Again, this amendment would not allow any state to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and would require the extensive protections described above for those with riskier health profiles. It is also worth noting that many states required insurers to offer coverage to those with pre-existing conditions before Obamacare was implemented.