May 05 2017
Every time I travel back to Utah I hear from constituents who are paying higher and higher premiums every year, now sometimes higher than their mortgage payments. This has to stop. Now more than ever, Republicans need to repeal Obamacare.
Just this week, Aetna announced they would be pulling out of Virginia’s Obamacare marketplace entirely, leaving 27 counties in the state with just one health insurance provider.
And in Iowa, Medica, the last Obamacare insurance provider in that state, announced they too would be leaving the marketplace, leaving tens of thousands of Iowans without any health insurance options at all.
Ideally, Congress would have repealed Obamacare months ago and both chambers could be working on replacements right now. The initial plan was to have the 2015 repeal bill, which every non-freshman member of the House and Senate already voted for, on President Trump’s desk to sign on Inauguration Day.
But for whatever reasons another path was chosen and now five months later the House of Representatives passed a new repeal bill Thursday that will soon be moving to the Senate.
Unfortunately that bill contains numerous fatal procedural flaws and much of it will have to be rewritten. In fact, it will probably have to be reenvisoned entirely.
Fortunately a diverse group of Republican senators (including moderate and conservative members) have begun working on a new health care framework that can both get 51 votes in the Senate and survive the chambers arcane reconciliation rules.
It is still far too early to tell what this group will produce, but the end result could end up being a huge win for the American people.
Ideally a final product would put Medicaid on a sustainable fiscal path while minimizing disruptions in care for those currently enrolled in the program. It would take steps towards equalizing the tax treatment of health insurance. And it would find a way to better finance health care for low income Americans and those with pre-existing conditions without disrupting the health care market for the rest of the country. At a minimum this would mean repealing all or most of the Obamacare insurance regulations or at least require states to opt in to them.
A bill like the one outlined above would deliver real relief to millions of Americans who are paying unthinkably high health insurance premiums for benefits they can rarely claim because the deductibles on their insurance plans are so high. It would also protect those vulnerable populations that are most in need of public health care assistance including expectant mothers, children, the disabled, and those with pre-existing conditions.
I can’t promise the Senate’s final product will look exactly like the one sketched out above. But I can promise I will fight as hard as possible to make Obamacare repeal a reality.