Improved Obamacare Repeal Bill Offers More Choice, Lower Premiums

NTU continues to urge all Representatives to vote “YES” on H.R. 1628, the “American Health Care Act.” This reconciliation bill is one critical part of a multi-step process to fully repeal and replace the disastrous “Affordable Care Act” (ACA). H.R. 1628 would reduce taxes, empower individual health care consumers, shift power from Washington to state capitals, and restrain government overreach.

H.R. 1628 would eliminate two of the most egregious elements of the ACA: the employer and individual mandates. It would repeal hundreds of billions of dollars in tax hikes on investment, medical devices, health insurance, the “medicine cabinet,” tanning, and prescription drugs; and implement these cuts retroactively to January 1, 2017. This would give consumers an immediate economic boost and make many health care products more affordable.

Instead of mandates, H.R. 1628 empowers individuals and families via a means-tested, advanceable, refundable tax credit to choose the best health insurance option for their unique needs. It would effectively extend to individuals the tax benefits that currently exist for employer-provided health insurance to create a level playing field in the insurance marketplace and target assistance toward those who need it most. Increased health insurance options and strengthened health savings accounts would likewise restore health care decision-making to where it belongs: with consumers.

In addition, the legislation would enact sweeping Medicaid reform, giving states the option to adopt either block grants or a per-capita allotment funding mechanism. These changes would save taxpayers money, give states the ability to better serve their Medicaid population, and restore financial sustainability to an unsound program.

Updated: Palmer/Schweikert Amendment:

This section would provide an additional safety net for high-risk patients, who predictably have greater health care costs, by creating a “Federal Invisible Risk-Sharing Program.” These guaranteed protection funds have been used effectively at the state-level to stabilize insurance markets. If properly implemented by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, this provision could safeguard health insurance coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions while reducing premium costs across the board.

Updated: MacArthur/Meadows Amendment:

This amendment is a further step in the right direction for repealing and replacing Obamacare, permitting states to opt out of some of the most onerous regulations imposed by that legislation. New federal mandates, like essential health benefits and community rating, have been one of the primary causes of the costly insurance premium hikes that have hurt consumers. The MacArthur/Meadows amendment would give states the option to waive these regulations, with the assurance that other steps are taken at the state-level to reduce premium costs, create more options among health insurance products, and increase coverage – including for those with pre-existing conditions. Doing so will allow states to better respond to the unique needs and desires of their residents, as well as reduce the role of the federal government in the health care choices of individuals.

Updated: Upton Amendment:

This amendment would provide an additional $8 billion in funding for the “Federal Invisible Risk-Sharing Program” included in the Palmer/Schweikert amendment. These new funds would further protect consumers with pre-existing conditions while still achieving $142 billion in significant deficit reduction.

In the ongoing fight for health care that puts patients first and enhances, rather than harms, our economy, there is still much to do. A laudable desire for legislation that goes further should not be an impediment to moving forward with solid reforms that move the ball forward. H.R. 1628 would provide urgent relief for taxpayers and represent a significant step toward free market health care reform.

Roll call votes on H.R. 1628 will be heavily-weighted in our annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.

If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift at (703) 683-5700