On May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), and H.R. 2192, legislation to ensure that the AHCA and its provisions apply to all Members of Congress and congressional staff. I voted in favor of the AHCA and H.R. 2192. This legislation repeals Obamacare, restores competition and choice to the healthcare marketplace and lowers insurance premiums. This legislation ensures that no one can be denied coverage, including people with pre-existing conditions. In addition, no-one, regardless of health status, will be charged higher premiums if they maintain their coverage. Finally, this bill prohibits insurers from rescinding coverage based on a pre-existing condition. The AHCA:
- Dismantles the Obamacare taxes that have increased premium costs and hurt job creators and includes a repeal of the medical device tax.
- Eliminates the burdensome Obamacare regulations, mandates and penalties that drove up costs for families, workers and employers.
- Allows young adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ plan.
- Empowers individuals and families by nearly doubling the amount of money people can contribute to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and broadening how people can use their HSA dollars.
- Offers people who purchase coverage on the individual market (ie. you are not insured through your employer, Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Veterans benefits, etc.), portable, monthly tax credits to help with the cost of coverage.
Addressing substance abuse and reforming our mental health care system are priorities for me in Congress. The AHCA includes an additional $15 billion in funding to help people who are struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders. This legislation does not change mental health parity rules, and it preserves the important reforms signed into law last year as part of the 21st Century Cures Act. Read more about 21st Century Cures here.
As a woman and a mom, claims that the AHCA cuts off coverage for critical women’s health services and coverage are of great concern to me. The AHCA maintains the standard that men and women be treated equally when it comes to cost of coverage. Moreover, it does not remove access to preventative screening services, like mammograms, breastfeeding support and counseling, and well-woman visits. Under the AHCA the 10 Essential Health Benefit Categories would remain the federal standard. States can seek a waiver to establish new specific benefit standards, but only if the state publically attests that doing so would reduce the cost of healthcare coverage and/or increase the number of people with healthcare coverage. The notion that the AHCA classifies rape or sexual assault as a pre-existing condition, or that survivors would be denied coverage is false. In fact, the Washington Post Fact Checker gave this claim four Pinocchios, making it a “Whopper.”
More information about the Upton-Long Amendment and the MacArthur Amendment is available below. Answers to more frequently asked questions about the AHCA, the Upton-Long Amendment and the MacArthur Amendment are available here.
The Upton-Long Amendment: Strengthening Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions
The Upton-Long Amendment provides an additional $8 billion in resources over 5 years to strengthen protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
FACT CHECK: The pre-existing conditions debate (Source: USA Today)
MacArthur Amendment: Lowering Costs and Removing Regulatory Burdens
The MacArthur Amendment gives our state partners the flexibility and control they need to lower costs and increase competition in insurance markets. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb joined 14 Governors calling on Congress to repeal Obamacare, replace it and reform the system “as soon as possible so that we can move our country forward.” You can read their letter in support of the AHCA here.