Saturday , June 24 2017
Home | Tag Archives: obamacare

Tag Archives: obamacare

Sen. Cornyn Statement on Senate GOP Health Care Reform Plan

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement after Senate Republicans released a discussion draft of legislation to replace what he characterized as the ‘failed Affordable Care Act (ACA)’:

“After years of debate, hearings, and stories from folks harmed by Obamacare, today is a critical step towards delivering on our promise to provide the relief Texans so desperately need.

Our plan will help lower skyrocketing costs, protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and ensure Medicaid is there for the Texans who need it most. Under this plan, gone are the days where people are forced to buy insurance they don’t want and can’t afford.  

“The time to close the book on Obamacare is now. Our plan will help deliver access to better care at a price the American people can actually afford.”

THE SENATE REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE PLAN

Protects Texans’ Access to Health Coverage

  • Safeguards Medicaid for the Texans who need it most.
  • Preserves access to care for Texans with pre-existing conditions.

Provides More Options for Texas Patients

  • Will help boost options for the approximately 1.5 million Texans who buy their insurance on the individual market, which will be especially helpful for Texans in the 88 counties (one out of every three in Texas) that currently offer only one insurance option.
  • Repeals the employer mandate penalty, which means employers will be able to offer employees more choices at a lower cost, helping the 48% of Texans who receive health insurance through work.

Makes Care More Affordable for Texans

  • Slows down sky-rocketing premiums, which Texans have seen go up 82% in the past 4 years alone.
  • Provides tax credits to help low-income Texans living below the federal poverty line – 4 million of whom receive no help under current law — afford health care.
  • Repeals the health insurance tax, which drives up premium costs, and repeals the tax on individuals who choose not to buy insurance.
  • Increases funds for Texas’ first-class hospitals that serve low-income patients who don’t have insurance.
  • Increases Medicaid funding for those struggling with mental illness.
  • Provides new funding to combat opioid abuse. 4 of the 25 U.S. cities with the highest rates of opioid abuse are in Texas.

On the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) spoke about the discussion draft of legislation introduced by Senate Republicans to replace the failing Affordable Care Act.  Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be downloaded here.

 “We’ll have a process next week whereby any Senator who has an amendment to the bill has an absolute right to file that amendment.”

 “I can’t imagine a more transparent and open process than put it on the internet, invite people’s comments and discussion, and then have an open amendment process following debate, and then vote.”

 “This, I believe, is a framework for better care. But we’re going to continue to discuss this plan and talk to anyone who is willing to talk to us and work with us. If there is a way the bill can be strengthened, I am open to it. But the status quo isn’t working, and our Democratic colleagues know it.”

CBO Report: 23 Million to Lose Coverage Under AHCA

AUSTIN, Texas – The Congressional Budget Office says 23 million Americans would lose their health insurance by 2026 if the American Health Care Act becomes law. Some 14 million of those 23 million would lose coverage because of plans to cut Medicaid by $884 billion.

Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser with the Bipartisan Policy Center, says states including Texas would have a hard time making up for a loss of federal Medicaid dollars.

“Kids, seniors, people with disabilities, low-income people lose their benefits,” he says. “I think we’d see hospitals have their ERs flooded again with patients who are not paying. It would obviously have a negative impact on the economy.”

The CBO predicts the uninsured rate would increase from 10 percent to close to 18 percent in the next decade. Texas already has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country.

The AHCA narrowly passed in the U.S. House earlier this month. Some Senate Republicans have promised that Medicaid recipients would be protected under the new law.

The CBO says the Republican plan could lower premiums by four to 20 percent by 2026. Slavitt notes those reductions would come at the expense of rising costs for low-income people as well as those with pre-existing conditions.

The plan also has a so-called “age tax,” which means Texans and others aged 50 to 64 would pay much higher premiums.

“Under the new law, if it were to pass, people who were in that age group would be able to be charged five times as much for insurance as younger people – in some cases, as much as $7,000 of additional costs to get covered,” he adds.

Proponents of the plan argue that block-granting Medicaid funds to states would spark innovative solutions. Slavitt disagrees.

“This really is about the federal government saving money – cutting the money that they give to states for care, and then taking that money and turning around and providing a tax break to very high-income people, the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies,” he explains.

The CBO estimates the Republican bill could cut the federal deficit by $119 billion in 10 years.

The Congressional Budget Office says 23-million Americans would lose their health insurance by 2026 if the American Health Care Act becomes law. Mark Richardson looks at who is most at risk.

Author: Mark Richardson – Public News Service (TX)

Cornyn, Cruz, Hurd, O’Rourke Comment on Passage of American Health Care Act

After Thursday’s passage of the American Health Care Act, local and statewide representatives released statements regarding the vote.

Rep. Beto O’Rouke (via Facebook)

Today I voted against the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Like the original version of the bill, which failed to garner enough support for a vote in March, AHCA seeks to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a system of tax credits and Medicaid block grants.

In the March version of the bill we knew that:

– 81,000 fewer El Pasoans would have health care

– 2.5 million fewer Texans would have health care

– 24 million fewer Americans would have health care

– Americans would see premium increases of 15–20% in 2018 and 2019

– Millions of veterans not enrolled in the VA would lose health care

– Fewer resources would be available to combat the opioid crisis

– There would be no requirement for mental health parity

– Women’s reproductive health would be defunded

The most notable changes to this version of the bill are two amendments. First, the McArthur Amendment, which allows states to determine the minimum coverage in the health care plans they offer. Currently, the ACA requires insurers to cover a host of essential health benefits like hospital stays, mental health, and maternity care. This amendment will allow insurers to consider health status when setting prices. This will directly impact patients with pre-existing conditions and older Americans who will be charged more for coverage.

The second amendment is the Upton Amendment. It adds $8 billion over 5 years to the bill to help those with pre-existing conditions pay for their insurance and health care needs. Unfortunately that is nowhere near enough and if implemented many people will soon find it difficult to pay for their health care needs.

There has been no updated analysis of this new version of the bill because it was rushed through without an official score from the Congressional Budget Office.

I voted against the bill which passed the House by a vote of 217-213. It now goes to the Senate where it meets an uncertain fate.

Rep. Will Hurd

“Since the implementation of Obamacare, I’ve told my constituents that the only meaningful metric when it comes to healthcare is actual access to quality, affordable care – not just health insurance. While the goal of Obamacare was to make healthcare more accessible and more affordable, it has done just the opposite. Likewise, while the goal of the American Health Care Act was to combat the skyrocketing premiums and outrageous deductibles millions of Americans face, it too, falls short.

“We must provide relief, but unfortunately, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in its current form does not address the concerns of many of my constituents, including adequate protections for those with pre-existing conditions and the challenges faced by rural healthcare providers. I am unable to turn my back on these vulnerable populations because I believe we can and must do better for the American people.

“I will not support the AHCA in its current form and hope that we can continue making improvements to fix our broken healthcare system.”

Sen. John Cornyn

“Today is an important step forward in upholding our promise to give the American people relief from Obamacare,” Sen. Cornyn said. “The health care status quo is unacceptable. Premiums have skyrocketed, coverage options have disappeared, and small businesses have struggled under crushing taxes and mandates. Working alongside the Administration, making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans will continue to be our top priority and this legislation sets us on a course to achieve that.”

Sen. Ted Cruz

“Today was an important step. I am encouraged that House Republicans were able to come together and pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. The House Freedom Caucus pressed hard to reduce premiums and make health care more affordable, and their efforts, in cooperation with the entire conference, substantially improved this bill.

“Our work now goes forward in the Senate, where we should continue to improve the bill. For many weeks, I have been working closely with my Senate colleagues, from across the ideological spectrum, on consensus reforms to make health insurance more affordable. We must deliver on that promise. I am optimistic we will get the job done, and honor our commitment to provide more choices for consumers, put people in control of their healthcare, and most importantly, lower premiums.”

GOP Health Care Amendment Could Hurt Most Vulnerable In NM

SANTA FE, N.M. – President Trump and GOP members of Congress have a new twist in their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, and family advocates are more concerned than ever about the effect it would have on New Mexicans.

The “MacArthur Amendment,” named for the New Jersey Republican who negotiated it with leaders of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, is what is most troubling to Lydia Mitts, associate director of affordability initiatives in health policy at Families USA. It would mean states could obtain waivers that would allow them to opt out of providing some of the “essential health benefits” currently required by the Affordable Care Act.

“There are 826,000 people in New Mexico who have a pre-existing condition, and this new amendment would put those hundreds of thousands of people at risk,” Mitts said; “also, people guaranteed that they’ll have coverage for basic services like maternity care, prescription drugs and mental health.”

While the amendment says people who stay insured can’t be charged more for pre-existing conditions, it does allow states to create a “high-risk pool” for those who have a lapse in coverage. It is unclear how those who can’t afford to prevent interruption of their health care will be affected.

Gov. Susana Martinez has openly supported efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, while New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich along with U.S. Reps. Ben Luján and Michelle Grisham have urged the governor to oppose the American Health Care Act.

Mitts said lawmakers will be held accountable to the more than 500,000 who saw their lifetime caps on coverage lifted thanks to the Affordable Care Act, whether they enrolled in the program or not. She added that some assistance for members of New Mexico’s most vulnerable populations would be lost under this new amendment.

“Right now, over 33,000 people in New Mexico are getting help affording private insurance through financial assistance under the ACA,” Mitts said. “And under this bill, particularly New Mexicans who are older and are lower income could see that financial help cut substantially.”

The amendment satisfied hard-line conservatives who blocked the way for the AHCA to receive the 216 total votes it needed to pass the House. The plan faces even slimmer margins in the Senate before it can land on the president’s desk.

Author – Brett McPherson, Public News Service (NM)

Texas Groups Oppose Congress’ Second Try at Health Care Bill

AUSTIN – Congress could vote on a new version of the GOP’s American Health Care Act as early as this weekend, but a group of Texas health-care advocates is strongly opposing the bill. The proposal still makes insurance more expensive for older Americans, would strip an estimated 24 million people of coverage and lead to deep cuts in Medicaid.

Adriana Kohler, senior health policy associate with Texans Care for Children, believes the Republican majority in the House has managed to make an already bad health-care bill worse.

“This bill would give the option to states to take away protections for consumers, for kids, for pregnant women, for people with disabilities,” she said. “So, we strongly oppose the bill and state measures to opt into what might pass.”

The coalition, Cover Texas Now, includes advocates for children, families, patients and consumers. Kohler says the group is urging Congress to keep most parts of the current Affordable Care Act and make improvements where they’re needed.

Proponents of the changes say they’ll give states more flexibility.

Kohler says the changes proposed in the new health-care bill would make it harder for Texans who need coverage the most to get insurance.

“A new amendment to the bill would also let states strip protections for preexisting conditions,” she added. “That means insurers could discriminate and hike premiums based on your medical history.”

In her view, many of the changes would negatively affect families with kids. The bill would cut already-scarce Medicaid benefits in Texas, which Kohler says endangers both children and pregnant women.

“We urge Congress to go back to the drawing board and improve upon this plan,” said Kohler. “If you care about prenatal care or kids going to school healthy, then the Medicaid cuts for Texas in this bill are terrible news.”

President Trump has urged Congress to pass a health-care bill before his first 100 days in office are up this weekend. The original “repeal and replace” plan considered two weeks ago lacked support and was never brought up for a vote.

Author: Mark Richardson, Public News Service (TX)

Backers See ‘Medicare for All’ as Cure for U.S. Health Care

HOUSTON – With Republicans trying to resuscitate their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, the debate in Texas and elsewhere over how to fix the health-care system is heating up again.

While partisan divides remain deep, Glenn Pearson, former president of Physicians for a National Health Program, said the failure of the American Health Care Act presents a unique opportunity for President Trump to make good on campaign promises for more coverage and better benefits by moving beyond for-profit models.

“America is the only wealthy country in the world that has a free market, for-profit system,” Pearson said. “It treats health care as a commodity, like buying a TV. In every other country, health care is a human right.”

Pearson said the Medicare for All Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., would provide coverage to all Americans by expanding Medicare, the single-payer program already in place for people age 65 and older. Critics have said the move would be too costly, but research has shown most U.S. households would pay less than the current system of insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

Pearson, while not a fan of the ill-fated “Trumpcare” proposal, noted that the Affordable Care Act still leaves many without coverage and channels billions of taxpayer dollars to private insurance companies. He said a majority of Americans, including Republicans, support a system where money currently going to administrative overhead and private profits is spent on patient care instead.

“There would be no deductibles, no co-insurance; there would be very small co-pays,” he said, “and so nobody would ever go bankrupt because they became ill.”

Even though more people have insurance since the rollout of the ACA, Pearson said, nearly 2 million Americans go bankrupt each year because of health-care expenses. A National Day of Action calling for universal health care is set for April 8, the first day of the congressional recess.

The Conyers bill’s text is online at congress.gov, and an analysis is at pnhp.org.

Hurd Statement on Healthcare Bill: ‘Insurance is not Healthcare’

In advance of Thursday’s vote overhauling the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Representative Will Hurd released the following statement:

“We must remember, that regardless of its goals, Obamacare has not made healthcare more accessible or more affordable. It has led to expensive and confusing insurance coverage for American families while adding regulations at the expense of small businesses. I see this first hand as I travel the district and hear stories of premiums doubling overnight and outrageous deductibles forcing families to spend their entire savings just to get the care they need.

“And what keeps getting lost in media coverage is this: insurance is not healthcare.  Seven years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, there are still millions of Texans who cannot access or afford quality healthcare. ‘Rates of the insured’ are irrelevant if these same people cannot afford to receive treatment.

“Obamacare is collapsing, so maintaining the status quo is not an option. While crisscrossing my district all year and driving 1,600 miles across the country last week, I’ve heard loud-and-clear that while the  American Health Care Act (AHCA) will increase insurance options and competition, it must help those who were previously uninsurable, and strengthen protections for the aged and disabled on Medicaid.

“This is why I’ve been encouraging Leadership in the House of Representatives to make changes to the AHCA prior to our vote on Thursday. Congress needs to provide states the flexibility to address their most pressing issues. I’ve asked for Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states to be treated equally, and I’ve asked that doctors who take care of these vulnerable populations receive the support they need so that they do not opt-out of treating Medicaid patients all together, further restricting access to care.

“Even after Obamacare is repealed, work still needs to be done like extending and expanding programs like the 1115 Waiver. This is a tool used by States to expand Medicaid access for children, families, and those in rural areas.

“I’ve also told House Leadership I will continue to champion funding for Community Health Centers and increased reimbursements for rural providers, and I believe that any final plan must integrate these critical components. I look forward to reading the final bill and hope that these provisions, which are extremely important to my constituents, are included.”

***

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Report: Texas Rural Health Care Faces Funding Crisis

AUSTIN, Texas – A new report warns that rural hospitals in Texas could be hit hardest under a Congressional plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

It found that proposed funding cuts to the Medicaid program, which already is operating at a minimal level in Texas, could force many rural hospitals to close, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without reasonable access to health care.

David Pearson, director of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals, which produced the study, said a new round of funding cuts could devastate the state’s already challenged rural health-care system.

“Continual reduction in reimbursements and available financial resources, either at the state or the federal level, have just gotten to the point where a lot of small hospitals are unsustainable,” said Pearson. “They don’t have the local tax support to make up that difference.”

According to the report, the state’s rural health-care system faces declining reimbursement rates along with rising health-care costs, and Texas already has the highest uninsured rate in the United States.

When Texas lawmakers did not expand Medicaid under the ACA, Pearson said, it put dozens of rural hospitals on the critical list.

He said 16 rural hospitals in Texas have closed since 2013, with an increasing number in financial distress. Pearson also explained that a proposed plan to fund Medicaid through block grants would only shift the financial burden of rural health care to those who can least afford it.

“Local governments and/or local tax districts already fund a large share of Medicaid,” he said. “The tax base in a rural area just isn’t large enough to be able to generate the kind of revenue that would be needed to offset that reduction.”

Pearson said when a rural hospital closes, it creates a damaging ripple effect in the local economy. He added that Texas isn’t the only state facing a rural health-care crisis.

“This really is a national crisis,” he warned. “Unfortunately, Texas leads the way as far as the number of closures, but closures across the country in rural areas are really starting to add up.”

The report, which was completed before the Republicans’ current American Health Care Act was released, was sponsored by the nonprofit Episcopal Health Foundation.

Author: Mark Richardson – Texas News Service

Opinion: Hurd on the Hill – Constituent-Driven Policy & Obamacare Opinions

Last week, I hosted my thirteenth live telephone town hall meeting in the last two years.  Although they are no substitute for the 50-plus in-person town halls and more than 400 public events I have also led, telephone town hall meetings have allowed me to communicate with over 630,000 constituents since 2015.

Telephone town halls are just what they sound like – town hall meetings conducted over the telephone. They give me the opportunity to connect with thousands of constituents while I’m in Washington for the legislative session, and are one of many ways that I listen to constituents on a regular basis.

Over the course of 92 minutes last Thursday evening, I spoke with thousands of constituents from across the district and answered their questions live. I also asked a series of poll questions to get important feedback from folks.

Among several topics that were discussed, we spent the majority of our time talking about how Obamacare has failed, and what constituents can expect with its repeal and improved replacement in the future.  In response to my survey questions, I learned that half of over 500 respondents are paying more for insurance today than they were before Obamacare, and more than 40 percent of them have, or know someone who has had, to change insurance plans or doctors since Obamacare was implemented.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Americans receiving insurance through the Obamacare exchanges have been pummeled by a 25 percent average increase in premiums. These numbers are crippling American families and the situation is only going to get worse with fewer coverage options and even higher costs.

I wanted to discuss Obamacare on the telephone town hall because I have spent a lot of time lately reassuring constituents that as we repeal and replace it, individuals and families will not be left without healthcare. After asking another poll question, over 70 percent of respondents agreed that Congress should not repeal Obamacare without a replacement. This tells me that most of us are all on the same page. I am confident that Congress will deliver on our promise to provide a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.

It’s also clear that key provisions of our replacement plan, like tax credits and guaranteeing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, have broad support. Not surprisingly, constituents on the call favored being incentivized by tax credits when purchasing insurance, rather than being fined for declining it. Over 80 percent of respondents also agreed that certain features of Obamacare, such as guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions and staying on a parent’s plan until age 26, should stay in place. These are features that House Republicans will preserve.

In upcoming weeks, Congress will begin the process of repealing Obamacare’s most burdensome components – including eliminating the individual and employer mandate penalties – and move forward with patient-centered reforms.

As we move through the process, I assure you that your experiences are important to me and will continue to shape my opinions on how we should move forward. Please continue to reach out to me with your questions and concerns, and, if you would like to participate in future telephone town hall meetings, constituents may subscribe on my website.

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Intelligence Committee, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Opinion: Senator Cornyn – Obamacare Replacement Major Step in Right Direction

WASHINGTON – Tuesday on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed the American Health Care Act. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found here.

“The fact of the matter is that Obamacare has been one broken promise after another. President Obama and advocates of this law said that if you wanted to keep your plan, you could keep it. But that didn’t pan out.” 

“They said if you liked your doctor, you didn’t have to find another one. That didn’t turn out to be true either. And they promised people across the country would have more coverage, more options, and better health care, all at a more affordable price. Well, that ended up not being true either.”

“Now we have an opportunity to do better for the people we represent, who are counting on us to deliver, to repeal Obamacare and replace it with options that work, and I believe the plan released last night is a major step in the right direction.” 

“Patients need better tools, like health savings accounts…We need to break down the barriers that restrict choice and keep Americans from choosing an insurance plan that works…And we need to empower employers, particularly small business owners, to provide their employees with the kind of affordable coverage that meets their needs.” 

“We need to move health care decisions out of Washington and send them back to the states and back to patients and families and their doctors.” 

“So I’m glad our colleagues in the House and our friends in the White House fully understand why this is such a priority and why we need to keep the promise that we made. As soon as we can do that and deliver on that major promise to the American people, the sooner we do that, a whole lot of American families across the country will feel relief.” 

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees

Report: NM Makes Progress on Insuring Children, But Poverty Worsening

SANTE FE, N.M. – Children in New Mexico struggle against endemic poverty, but there are some positive signs, according to the KidsCount 2016 Databook released Tuesday.

The report says 141,000 New Mexico children live in poverty. That is 29 percent of kids statewide, a figure that has gotten worse since 2008. It also shows that, in one-third of families, neither parent has secure, full-time year-round work.

James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which issued the report, says there is some good news: the state has made major progress on insuring more kids. He credits the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

“That’s really important because when children get an opportunity to have their well-baby checks and so on, there’s a much greater likelihood that they can avoid diseases that will cause them delays as they develop,” he explained.

Jimenez notes, however, that the Medicaid expansion is under serious threat with the upcoming repeal of Obamacare. The research did show one other positive trend, the state has slightly reduced the number of low-birth-weight babies.

The report blames many of the state’s stubborn problems on the lackluster economy, which still hasn’t recovered from the recession despite multiple rounds of tax cuts designed to create more economic activity. Jimenez says the state’s whole approach should be overhauled to prioritize the needs of low-income families.

“We’ve got some other recommendations that would include better ways to fund our state government, so that we really provide the kinds of services that we think are necessary, including funding for child care,” he said.

The authors also recommend lawmakers change the income limits so more people qualify for child-care assistance, raise the minimum wage and protect food-assistance programs from further cuts.

Author: Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

Hurd on the Hill: Paving the Way for Better Healthcare

“What’s the point of having health insurance anymore?”

I’m often asked this question by constituents who are pummeled by out-of-pocket costs under Obamacare.

It’s a great question. And after six years of this experiment, it is clear that Obamacare has failed the American people. Families face skyrocketing premiums and soaring deductibles, making healthcare more unaffordable than ever. In Texas this year alone, we’ve experienced a 34 percent increase in Obamacare premiums, forcing us to pay more each month just to keep our coverage. Couple that with multiplying deductibles in the thousands of dollars, and it’s no surprise that many people feel like they don’t have coverage at all.

Obamacare is collapsing as we speak. Only five of the original 23 health insurance CO-OPs remain in business, and these failures have cost taxpayers more than $1.8 billion.  As insurers continue to drop like dominos, options for healthcare coverage continue to shrink. Currently, over a third of counties nationwide have only one choice for health insurance. That is not a choice – that’s a monopoly.

A modern-day health care model should allow patients—along with their health care providers— to make decisions about their health care needs, instead of a federal administrator. Loving parents working with their local doctor would do a far better job of protecting the health of their children, and caregivers at home know far more about their family’s need than bureaucrats in Washington.

The Good News

The good news is that we are finally on the same page. Eight in ten Americans agree that we need to significantly change or repeal Obamacare altogether, and Congress is responding by repealing Obamacare and paving the way for better healthcare for all Americans.

We already have a replacement plan, and it provides more choices and less top-down mandates. It also makes sure that you never have to worry about being turned away because of pre-existing conditions, age, income, or circumstance. Our plan eliminates unnecessary bureaucracy to accelerate the development of life-saving devices and therapies, and it protects Medicare for today’s seniors, while preserving the program for future generations.

I am fighting with my colleagues to provide relief for millions of struggling families. The end goal is a patient-centered system that lowers costs and provides more choices for the American people.

What to Expect

As we work to replace Obamacare with something better, there will be a stable transition period so that no one has the rug pulled out from underneath them. Patients currently on the healthcare exchange will not lose coverage without a replacement, kids will still be able to stay on their parent’s plans, and patients with preexisting conditions will not be turned away.

Our blueprint lays out a step-by-step process that begins with a budget resolution for fiscal year 2017, authorizing Congress to fast-track repeal legislation with only simple majorities in the House and Senate. This legislation passed last week, paving the way for us to begin in earnest to repeal and replace this job-killing law that has neither made healthcare more affordable nor protected patients. In the coming months, Congress will work to first repeal tax-related provisions, such as the individual mandate that eliminated choice for patients across the country, while maintaining protections for those with pre-existing conditions and strengthening successful programs like Medicare Advantage and Health Savings Accounts.

We are committed to doing this the right way so that every American has access to quality, affordable coverage for years to come. Learn more about our plan at www.abetterway.speaker.gov

Millions of Texans Could Lose Coverage if ACA Repealed

AUSTIN, Texas — Congress has set in motion what it says is a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But what could happen in Texas if the plan is only repealed?

One study projects that ending Obamacare without immediately enacting an equivalent plan would result in 2.6 million Texans losing health coverage by 2019. Anne Dunkelberg, associate director at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which produced the study, said a repeal of the plan would hit the state’s working families hardest.

“Close to 85 percent of them are getting subsidies. The average subsidy is 75 percent of the premium,” Dunkelberg said. “So, if those subsidies go away, the vast majority would not be able to afford to just pick up the other 75 percent of the premium.”

The study also found that Texas stands to lose about $62 billion in federal healthcare funding over the next decade if the ACA is repealed, and it would pay out billions more to doctors and hospitals to cover the cost of uncompensated care.

Congress has vowed to replace Obamacare but has yet to reveal the details of any plan it is considering.

Dunkelberg said that if Congress only repeals the plan, the significant gains made in the state’s uninsured rate by Obamacare would likely be reversed.

“Even though Texas still has the worst uninsured rate, and the highest uninsured number in the country, and didn’t do the Medicaid expansion along with 18 other states, we still had a big, major reduction in our uninsured rate as a result of it,” Dunkelberg said.

She said she’s also concerned that any new plan could reverse basic requirements, allowing insurers to sell policies that don’t cover key expenses such as prescription drugs, mental health or maternity care.

“Being able to have a talking point that says that the price of the premium went down when in fact the reason it went down is that it’s no longer covering anything that you actually need, and it leaves you open to medical bankruptcy,” Dunkelberg said.

The report warned that a repeal of the ACA without an adequate replacement would mean that almost 30 million Americans could lose access to affordable health care.

Author – Mark Richardson, Public News Service

Analysis: Repeal of Healthcare Law Likely to Cause Chaos

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Repeal of the Affordable Care Act without immediate replacement would throw the U.S. healthcare system into turmoil for the next three years, according to economists.

The Urban Institute projected that the most likely plan for repeal would leave nearly 30 million Americans uninsured by 2019, send insurance markets into chaos and threaten the economic viability of hospitals around the country.

Edwin Park, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, predicts insurers will start canceling coverage in the face of billions of dollars in losses if there is no longer a mandate for consumers to buy insurance. But, Park said, the largest impacts may come in two years, when the repeal of the Medicaid expansion and the insurance subsidies that help people pay for coverage will likely kick in.

“More than doubling the number of uninsured that otherwise would occur,” Park said. “And that would be a higher number than was in place pre-Affordable Care Act, because of the virtual collapse of the individual market that would result.”

President-elect Trump and Republicans in Congress have criticized Obamacare for its rising premiums and reduced choice of doctors and insurance options. They campaigned on the promise of immediate repeal, even though the program has just finished its largest signup period ever.

First up for repeal are the taxes, mostly on high-income households, that pay for much of the program. Park said they found that more than half of these tax cuts would go to the rich – millionaires or richer – according to Congressional Budget Office figures.

Without that revenue, he said replacing the ACA would be difficult, or could require taking funds from Medicare or Medicaid. Park said that could explain the delay.

“The most critical aspect is that there is no replacement plan,” Park said, “that replacement would happen at some subsequent point, assuming there even is a replacement plan.”

The Urban Institute projects that, by 2019, healthcare providers will have to give four times the amount of uncompensated care they do now. Park said in that year, they will also lose $146 billion in revenue because they have fewer patients with insurance – which will be a threat to many hospitals.

“Rural hospitals in states that have seen improvements because of adoption of the Medicaid expansion in their states – that would all be reversed, and more, under ACA repeal,” Park said.

More information is available at cbpp.org

Dan Heyman, Public News Service

Report: ACA Repeal Without Replacement Could Hurt Texans

AUSTIN, Texas – The incoming Trump administration and a Republican Congress are vowing a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but they’re vague about a replacement plan.

A new report from the Urban Institute says a repeal could cost as many as 30 million Americans access to health care, including some 2.6 million people in Texas.

Patrick Bresette, director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, says repealing Obamacare could bring unintended consequences to the health care market and the U.S. economy.

“There should be no way that Congress is allowed to repeal this without a clear plan of what they are going to replace it with, or pulling out certain aspects of it,” he stresses. “We’ve likened it to the game Jenga, where you pull out one block and you think you’ve only dealt with that, but the ripple effects are going to be enormous.”

The study shows that a repeal would increase the number of uninsured Texans to 6.9 million people, keeping the state with the highest uninsured rate in the country.

Texas would also lose $62 billion in federal health care funding over a 10-year period.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, says that under the ACA, 95 percent of American children now have health insurance.

“But now Congress is poised to take a U-turn and taking away affordable coverage options which would actually double the number of uninsured kids,” she states.

Bresette adds that it’s not just the poor who have benefited from Obamacare.

“All of us are paying a little bit less for health insurance than we might,” he points out. “We’ve got protections for pre-existing conditions, elderly people on Medicare benefited from improvements in prescription drug costs. So I think that it’s important to remember that we’ve all benefited one way or another.”

The report says the “repeal through reconciliation” plan could cut financial assistance with premiums, individual and employer mandates and the Medicaid expansion, while keeping some reforms such as a ban on exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

Author: Mark Richardson – Texas News Service

EPE-17-130-El-Paso-Electric-Distribution-(RC)-Banner-Ads-_728x90 06-12 thru 07-09