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Vote Alert: Senators Should Support Lower Costs, More Choice in Health Care

by Nan Swift / /

As the Senate considers H.R. 1628, the “American Health Care Act of 2017,” NTU strongly urges all Senators to vote as follows on key amendments:

  • “YES” on #289, Daines (R-MT): This amendment would retroactively repeal the individual mandate as of 2014 and provide a refund to those who paid a penalty. The individual mandate is a fundamentally flawed policy that violates the rights of individuals to choose for themselves what products they may wish to purchase, or not. This kind of government mandate is a dangerous abrogation of our individual liberty.
  • “Yes” on #275, Barrasso (R-WY): This commonsense amendment would permit individuals to purchase lower-cost catastrophic plans. These scaled down insurance plans can often be the best fit for individuals and families, both in terms of cost and coverage, while at the same time providing adequate protection against the type of expenses that could impose financial harm in the event of a major health event.

In addition, NTU urges all Senators to oppose any amendments that could further damage our health care system. Policies such as prescription drug reimportation, Medicare non-interference, and price-controls pose a threat to innovation and the quality care and cures we all depend on. 

Moving forward throughout this debate, it’s essential that Senators remember that the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has wreaked havoc on the U.S. health insurance market. The past years have been marked by numerous broken promises and economic hardships due to PPACA’s complex web of burdensome regulations, mandates, and taxes. Taxpayers have seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket, with the cost of the average plan increasing 25 percent just in the past year and many facing hikes of much more than that. At the same time, consumers are getting less for these high costs as increasing deductibles and shrinking networks reduce health care options.

Many regions have experienced a veritable exodus of health insurance providers, further compounding consumer woes. At the same time, state-based health insurance exchanges and co-op programs - conceived as backstops for consumers - are facing serious financial problems or have shuttered altogether. The individual mandate and higher taxes on numerous products and services, such as medical devices, certain forms of investment income, and over-the-counter drugs have all eroded the financial well-being of taxpayers. In addition, policies aimed at incentivizing employers to expand health insurance benefits to employees have made it harder for businesses to expand or hire more full-time employees.

Taxpayers need Congress to act on policies that expand choice, reduce costs, and preserve our world class health care services.

Roll call votes on these and other amendments to H.R. 1628 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress.