Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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Health care, taxes will define Trump's year

Jan 19, 2017
In The News

ANDERSON — Replacing the Affordable Care Act and tax reform could be the defining legislative action during the first year of the administration of President-elect Donald Trump, Rep. Susan Brooks said.

Brooks, R-5th District, was in Anderson on Monday for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the Paramount Theatre and afterward discussed the incoming administration of Trump who takes office on Friday.

Since the Affordable Care Act’s passage, congressional Republicans have been trying to repeal it. With a Republican soon to be in the White House, they’re are taking the steps to replace the existing health care program.

“Health care and tax reform are probably the two most important things the Trump/ (Vice President-elect Mike) Pence administration can do starting out,” Brooks said. “The repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act to provide people with relief right now.

“It’s going to take a bit of time, not one big bill like ACA was,” she said. “It may be a whole series of bills and executive action through Health and Human Services Administration.”

Brooks said tax reform is the other critical thing to help grow the economy and keep jobs in the country.

“It will be bipartisan, everyone knows we need tax reform and have needed it for many years,” she said. “We now have a leader that wants to lead on it. He (Trump) is all about keeping jobs in this country, hopefully improving the wages that people make. You do that by lowering the tax rate and simplifying the tax code for individuals and employers. Employers can invest in the number of employees and equipment.”

Brooks said she is committed, as are the other Republicans in Congress, to make sure that people with pre-existing health conditions have insurance.

“Many didn’t prior to ACA. We want to create a mechanism, whether it’s funding high-risk pools which have worked in many states,” she said. “There has to be the opportunity for people to have health insurance if they have pre-existing conditions.”

Brooks said another part of the ACA that has to remain in place is allowing young people to remain on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.

“Younger people are not getting into the insurance plans, which causes premiums to go up for everyone else,” she said. “We need to provide a lot more options for all ages and income levels.”

Brooks said allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines will create new plans.

“We want to encourage employers to provide sponsored health care for their employees,” Brooks said. “One of the things I think will happen will allow small employers to pool their resources together to buy insurance. They can create associations of similar businesses that can buy together reducing the cost.”

The Health Indiana Plan (HIP) will survive and could possibly be a model for the nation, she said.

“The principal architect of HIP was Seema Verma, the nominee to oversee Medicaid and Medicare,” Brooks said. “She will oversee significant reforms to Medicare and Medicaid to try and save it. It’s a model, we had to fight with the Obama administration to accept the plan.

“People like the health savings account and choosing their own doctors,” she continued. “They can keep the money if they make good financial decisions for their own behalf.”