Hensarling Votes to Support the American Health Care Act
WASHINGTON—Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement after House passage of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628):
“I am supporting this bill because it advances the cause of freedom. I wish we could get a total Obamacare repeal and replace bill on the President’s desk all at once. Because of arcane Senate rules and the 60 vote threshold - which I’ve repeatedly encouraged my Senate colleagues to change - we have to repeal and replace Obamacare in pieces. But, with today’s vote, we’ve taken a huge step forward in that important process.
“The American Health Care Act contains significant conservative victories. First and foremost, this bill contains the biggest entitlement reform in more than 50 years through reforms to Medicaid, which is one of the major, long-term drivers of our national debt. The AHCA strengthens this broken program by giving states the freedom and flexibility to bypass the national Obamacare mandates to take care of their poor and vulnerable citizens in an innovative manner. It gets rid of the employer mandate and the individual mandate—the foundation of government coercion on which Obamacare was built. No longer are employers or individual Americans going to be forced to purchase health insurance coverage they do not want or need. This bill also denies federal funding to Planned Parenthood. And, on top of providing almost $1 trillion in tax relief by repealing taxes imposed by Obamacare, the American Health Care Act doubles the amount of money families can contribute, pre-tax, to Health Savings Accounts to help pay for medical expenses. Finally, despite what is being falsely reported, the bill continues to guarantee access to health insurance for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
“While there are many conservative victories in this bill, much remains to be done. We need to enact long-sought conservative reforms which will further drive down health care costs for Americans such as meaningful medical liability reform and allowing Americans to shop for health insurance across state lines. I will continue to fight for these reforms as we continue the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare. But, Americans are already paying the price of Obamacare’s collapse and the bill we passed today will rescue them from top-down Washington mandates that have made purchasing health care coverage unaffordable, and having access to a doctor unattainable for so many.
“Annual family premiums in the employer-sponsored market increased by roughly $4,300, on average, despite President Obama’s promise that premiums would decrease by $2,500. Deductibles for these plans are up an average of 60 percent since 2010. In the health insurance exchanges created by Obamacare, things are even worse for American consumers. Last October, the Obama Administration announced premium increases nearly four times larger than previously projected.
“Rarely does a day or week go by that I don’t hear from another Texas family about the hardship and heartaches caused by Obamacare. I recently heard from Frances who lives in Garland. She told me that in September 2014 she was diagnosed with tonsil cancer, and at the time, had health insurance through her husband’s employer. She said it was a good policy that cost $600 per month and had an out-of-pocket expenses limit of $3500. This plan allowed her to see the oncologist of her choice. In September 2015, she lost her coverage through her husband’s employer and was forced into Obamacare. As a result, the family’s costs went up and they have struggled to find any oncologist who will accept their insurance.
“Unfortunately, Frances’s story isn’t unique. In fact, in five states, individuals and families only have one choice for health insurance. Many have lost access to the doctors they know and trust. This lack of competition and the sheer weight of Washington top-down regulations have left Americans high and dry.
“The President has asked us to help people like Frances by passing the American Health Care Act, and the House has done just that. Now, it’s time for my Senate colleagues to do the same and make good on our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare and help families across this country have access to the affordable, quality health care of their choice.”