Today’s health care system is in need of bold reforms. For many Americans, Obamacare has failed. Premiums have reached unaffordable levels, insurance exchanges have collapsed, and consumers have been forced to buy coverage that they just don’t want. That’s why over the past several years, I have joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives in working to repeal and replace this broken law. Just a few days ago, committees in the House released a new health care plan, the American Health Care Act.
Throughout this process, I have met with numerous physicians, patient groups, disease advocacy supporters, hospitals, other health care providers, and insurers large and small. In just the past few days alone, I have visited a family practice in Front Royal, an infusion pharmacy in Waynesboro, and a Community Health Center in Roanoke as well as meeting with constituents concerned about specific issues like congenital heart defects and breastfeeding. As I’ve met with all of these folks and read hundreds of your letters and emails, one thing stands out to me: health care is extremely personal.
That’s exactly why you should be in charge of your health care, not the federal government. I don’t believe that the government should force Americans to buy a plan that they don’t want. There are folks in the Sixth District who like their coverage under Obamacare. There are many others who have suffered under the law through high deductibles, budget-busting premiums, and lack of access. For the approximately 5 percent of Virginians who enrolled in an Obamacare Marketplace plan, there will be a lengthy transition to help them find a new plan
The American Health Care Act takes bold steps to repeal the unworkable employer and individual mandates forced on Americans and rolls back Medicaid expansion while providing access to affordable health care. It expands the use of Health Savings Accounts by increasing the maximum contribution levels by nearly 100 percent and repeals a number of taxes that were imposed by Obamacare, including on medical devices. The American Health Care Act also preserves vital patient protections like coverage for those with preexisting conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26.
This legislation has passed two House committees and will next be considered by the Budget Committee. But this bill is just the first step. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, a former Member of Congress and physician, can take administrative steps to improve our health care delivery. Separate pieces of legislation addressing other aspects of health care reform will also work their way through regular order in various Committees.
While I continue to review the American Health Care Act to make sure it’s a better way forward for Virginians than our current course, I also want you to have the opportunity to read the bill for yourself, which is available at ReadTheBill.gop. Never before has Congress had a better opportunity to act and clear a path for a health care plan that puts patients first, not big government mandates. Congress has promised to repeal and replace Obamacare – and that’s what we intend to do.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte