As the news on Obamacare gets more dire by the day, it’s more important than ever to repeal and replace. You’ve heard a lot about the American Health Care Act, which the House passed in May. It repeals Obamacare and replaces it with a truly patient-centered system that increases coverage choices and lowers premiums. It reforms Medicaid, uses refundable tax credits, and expands health savings accounts—all while protecting pre-existing conditions.
The reforms in the AHCA take advantage of the reconciliation process, a tool that allows the Senate to avoid filibuster and vote with a simple majority.
But our plan to reform health care reform doesn’t end there. We promised that we would take up more bills that will further increase access and lower costs for consumers. They’ve been called phases, they’ve been called buckets, but here’s the important thing: We are fulfilling that promise.
In the past two weeks, the House has passed three bills that make important reforms to our nation’s health care system—reforms that can be used now and after Obamacare is repealed.
Verify First Act: Under Obamacare, health care subsidies were handed out without verifying the recipient’s status as a U.S. citizen. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), protects taxpayers by making sure the refundable tax credits under the AHCA are given to U.S. citizens only.
VETERAN Act: This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), ensures that veterans will be able to take advantage of health care benefits, including the refundable tax credits under the AHCA.
Broader Options for Americans Act: Under Obamacare, Americans who have lost their job have access to health insurance they received through work—COBRA coverage—but still have to pay inordinately high premiums. Sponsored by Rep Pat Tiberi (R-OH), this legislation will give those people access to the AHCA’s refundable tax credits so they can weather the hard time.
Last but not least, the House will vote on the Protecting Access to Care Act this week. This legislation addresses the rampant medical malpractice lawsuits in our health care system—a feature that drives up the cost of health care exponentially. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), is targeted at health care as part of a federal program, subsidy, or tax benefit. It caps non-economic damages at $250,000 (while keeping economic damages uncapped) and puts new limits on contingency fees on lawyers, so patients can keep more of their damage awards. This all means lower health care costs for families.
As Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said, “Achieving all of the President’s goals to reform healthcare will require more than what is possible in a budget reconciliation bill.”
Phases, buckets, whatever you want to call it—the House is following through on our commitment to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a new, strengthened patient-centered system.