WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-05) issued the following statement in conjunction with the passage of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), by the U.S. House of Representatives:“Obamacare is rapidly collapsing and this bill is one of the first necessary steps to build a better, more reliable and affordable health care system. President Obama’s promises to keep your doctor, lower your medical costs, and increase your insurance options have all been broken. In fact, Obamacare’s implosion has left half of Kentuckians with only one insurance provider. Although access has expanded for some folks, far too many families in our region now have to choose between paying for insurance and putting groceries on the dinner table.
“The American Health Care Act redirects the future of health care by repealing unaffordable taxes and eliminating the impossible mandates that set Obamacare on its destructive path. This bill is part of a multi-phase process, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to finalize a package that protects quality health care options while providing relief from Obamacare.”
BACKGROUND ON AHCA AND OTHER OBAMACARE REFORM LEGISLATION
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, led to skyrocketing premiums, fewer choices, and less access to quality care. The law’s price controls have created a cycle of rising premiums and falling enrollment, and average 2017 premiums may rise by as much as 47% in Kentucky.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) dismantles Obamacare’s taxes and mandate penalties, unwinds the law’s one-size-fits-all programs, and helps transfer control of health care back to states and the American people. Specifically, the bill:
- Repeals Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates and repeals tax increases associated with Obamacare,
- Provides a refundable tax credit for individuals (up to $4000) and families ($14,000) who do not get health insurance through their employer or the government,
- Nearly doubles the amount Americans can deduct from their taxes for medical expenses,
- Empowers States to lower premiums and expand options while maintaining key patient protections,
- Ensures patients with pre-existing conditions receive the care they need by prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, rescinding coverage based on a pre-existing condition, or raising premiums on individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage,
- Establishes a $153 billion Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program to subsidize coverage for older and sicker patients, which will further stabilize markets and lower premiums,
- Expands federal support for state-based maternity coverage and newborn care and mental health and substance use services,
- Repeals the provisions of Obamacare that subsidize abortion services and prohibits any future federal tax credits from subsidizing plans that cover elective abortion, and
- Increases contribution limits to Health Savings Accounts.
In addition to the AHCA, the U.S. House of Representatives has also passed companion legislation to reform Obamacare. Together, H.R. 1101 and H.R. 372 give small businesses the power to negotiate lower health care costs and increase competition among health insurance companies to lower premiums.
- H.R. 1101, the Small Business Health Fairness Act, creates association health plans (AHPs) which will allow small businesses to band together across state lines and negotiate for lower health care costs for their employees. AHPs will increase the bargaining power of small businesses to purchase health insurance and level the playing field with large businesses and unions. It passed on March 22nd by a vote of 236 to 175.
- H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act, applies federal antitrust laws to health insurance providers to increase competitiveness in the healthcare industry. Health insurance companies have been exempt from such regulation for 70 years, while health care providers and other industry participants have not. This has created a lack of competition in health insurance and has helped drive up cost. The legislation also passed on March 22nd by a vote of 416 to 7.
Together, these bills will provide relief from Obamacare and ensure Kentuckians have access to quality, affordable heath care.