Congressman Jeb Hensarling

Representing the 5th District of Texas

Health Care

Americans deserve an accessible and affordable health care system that promotes quality care and peace of mind. It should empower patients and support innovation. Sadly, that is not the system we have today.

Obamacare has limited choices for patients, driven up costs for consumers, and buried employers and health care providers under thousands of new regulations. It forced people into expensive plans they did not want and put the government in charge of one of the most personal decisions families will ever make. House Republicans know there is a better way.

The Republican proposal to reform our health care system is built on five principles:

1. Repeal Obamacare. The law that Democrats forced through Congress in 2010 was filled with special interest handouts, budget gimmicks, and tax increases. This law cannot be fixed. Its knot of regulations, taxes, and mandates cannot be untangled. We need a clean start in order to pursue the patient-centered reforms the American people deserve.

2. Provide all Americans with more choices, lower costs, and greater flexibility. The nation’s health care system is too bureaucratic and too expensive. It didn’t work before Obamacare, and it most certainly does not work now. Insurance companies should be competing against each other to offer the most affordable, highest quality options for consumers. While Obamacare favors a one-size-fits all approach, we believe choice, portability, innovation, and transparency are essential elements of successful reform, and for too long they have been absent in health care.

3. Protect our nation’s most vulnerable. Patients with pre-existing conditions, loved ones struggling with complex medical needs, and other vulnerable Americans should have access to high-quality and affordable coverage options. Obamacare’s solution was to force millions of people onto Medicaid, a broken insurance program that has historically failed lower-income families. We reject this approach. Instead, we believe states and individuals should have better tools, resources, and flexibility to find solutions that fit their unique needs.

4. Spur innovation in health care. From new procedures to advanced, life-saving devices and therapies, the U.S. has always been at the forefront of medical discoveries. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for our policies. Today, it costs $2 billion and takes 14 years to get a new drug through the byzantine clearance process at the Food and Drug Administration. Obamacare made the problem worse by levying a new tax on medical devices, driving out jobs, and slowing the development of new and innovative products that could help cure patients in need. Last year, the House passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which would pave the way for new ideas and support advancements in cures and treatments. Our plan builds on that legislation and promotes U.S. leadership in this area.

5. Protect and preserve Medicare. Today, more than 50 million seniors and individuals with disabilities rely on Medicare for access to health care. And millions more are counting on Medicare to provide health security when they reach retirement. Unfortunately, the program is unsustainable and will fail current and future Americans without significant reforms. Medicare must be protected for today’s seniors, and it must be strengthened for future generations. We can do this without undermining Medicare’s promise to current beneficiaries by slowly phasing in improvements that will provide future generations with greater choices.