My thoughts on the new health care bill
This week House Republican leaders unveiled the American Health Care Act, legislation that repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.
In my view, the ACA has fallen well short of its own stated goals to expand choices, increase access to care, and reduce costs. That is why I voted to repeal all or parts of it numerous times. All across the country insurance providers are leaving the ACA-created exchanges, resulting in less choice and higher costs. In Virginia, premium rates may increase as much as 16 percent, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
It is clear that we can do better. And we can do better by putting the patient and health care provider - not the government - at the center of our health care system.
You can read the full text of the American Health Care Act here.
So where do we go from here?
Next, the committees with jurisdiction over health care issues - mainly Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce - will begin "marking up" or amending the legislation. This process is already underway.
Eventually a bill or bills will come to the House floor for a vote. But before we get to that point, I will be evaluating this legislation in the days ahead to determine if it will be good for Virginians. I will apply to the bill my five principles for replacing the Affordable Care Act to determine if it will win my support. I've listed them below.
1) All Virginians should be able to purchase health insurance coverage.
2) Choice and access must be prioritized and maintained.
3) We need to get serious about reducing health care costs.
4) Medicare and Medicaid must be protected and preserved.
5) We need to create a system that empowers individuals and the private sector, not one that grows government.
My initial thoughts are that while this bill contains some provisions I support, I do have deep concerns about the lack of details on how many people will be covered under this legislation and what the overall costs will be.
One thing that is very important to me is that I continue to hear from you about the ACA repeal and replace plan. You can send your thoughts to me by emailing ACAIdeas.VA01@mail.house.gov
This is a topic I expect to address in upcoming telephone town hall meetings, and so if you would like to receive a call to join the next one, click here. I also hope you'll take a moment to sign up for my weekly email updates, which will contain news on this and other topics highlighting my work on your behalf.
I look forward to hearing from you, and it's an honor to serve you and Virginia's First District in the People's House.