The American Health Care Act

This week I believe it appropriate to focus on healthcare. The issue is too important and too close to the heart for many of you and it must be our priority. We owe it to the people of this nation to guarantee access to affordable, quality healthcare.

Recently, House Republicans have introduced the first phase in our plan to repeal and replace the disastrous Affordable Care Act. Since taking office, I have made a promise to our constituents to combat the federal government’s bureaucrat-centered healthcare system. If we want to drive down costs, we need to get big government out of the way, and I believe the American Health Care Act to be that first step.

Since this plan is being implemented through budget reconciliation, there are a number of key provisions of which, unfortunately, cannot be included in the same bill. Policies such as allowing for competition across states lines, allowing small-business to band together to purchase group plans, and FDA reform must be handled through separate pieces of legislation, and I can assure you these actions will follow soon.

Alongside my colleagues in the House, we will be engaging in robust and open debate regarding this plan and will address concerns with the current bill to drive down prices for all Americans.

Within the proposed legislation, I support the refundable, advanceable, age-based tax credits; the repealing of numerous, burdensome taxes, including the individual and employer mandates; the reassurance that those with pre-existing conditions will still have access to coverage; the absence of lifetime caps; allowing young adults under 26 to stay on their parent’s plans; and the two-year extension that we promised, to ensure a smooth transition to our patient-centered system. I also like that we are giving more say to states in crafting healthcare policy that works for their citizens.

As of now, a third of all counties in the United States only have a single health insurance plan. This lack of competition is why we have seen a trend of ever-increasing premiums. Last year, Nebraskans saw a 51 percent increase in premiums. This path is unsustainable and we must act now.

The American Health Care Act is only the first of three steps. Step two and three will come from the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Tom Price, and separate pieces of legislation respectively.

I look forward to and encourage ongoing debate on this issue. The final product, will be a significant improvement to the unaffordable ACA.

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