Columns

Blaine's Bulletin: The American Health Care Act

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Washington, May 12, 2017 | comments
Health-care is a very personal issue: it impacts each of us directly, as well as our families, friends, neighbors, and communities. So, most Americans have probably heard a lot in the last few weeks about the American Health Care Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives. The overall principles of this legislation are to put patients and their doctors back in charge of medical care, make higher quality coverage more affordable, and provide the American people with relief from Obamacare’s taxes and mandates.
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Health-care is a very personal issue: it impacts each of us directly, as well as our families, friends, neighbors, and communities. So, most Americans have probably heard a lot in the last few weeks about the American Health Care Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives. The overall principles of this legislation are to put patients and their doctors back in charge of medical care, make higher quality coverage more affordable, and provide the American people with relief from Obamacare’s taxes and mandates. 

There are a few specific components of the American Health Care Act that need to be better understood. First, are the refundable tax credits. These tax credits will equalize the tax treatment of health-care regardless of where it is purchased. In addition, the tax credits are designed to give individuals who don’t receive health-care coverage through their employers the same tax benefits as those who do so they can purchase what is best for them. Another important component is the expansion of Health Savings Accounts. HSAs allow Americans to deposit funds, pre-tax, into designated accounts to pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and the AHCA nearly doubles the amount that Americans may contribute to them. This bill also contains numerous protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The law is very clear: under no circumstance can an individual be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Lastly, for states that expanded Medicaid, this bill phases out the expansion and puts the program on a more fiscally sound path that should help preserve it for current and future beneficiaries. However, Missouri did not expand Medicaid, so Missourians who qualify for Medicaid will not be impacted. In fact, Medicaid will be reformed and will ultimately save taxpayers $880 billion.

Since Obamacare has been a law, a third of the country, including a vast majority of Missouri counties, are left with one provider from which to sign up for coverage. That is not leaving any room for choice for Americans. Over the last few years, more Americans may have purchased health insurance, but the fact remains that for many middle and low-income families the deductibles to use the health insurance are simply unaffordable which has led to higher out-of-pocket costs. This year, in Missouri, premiums rose 18 percent – about $300 more than last year. This is not sustainable for Missourians and, after all, Missourians know better than Washington what kind of coverage works best for their care.

With the recent vote to repeal Obamacare, Congress has taken the first step in this multi-step process. The House has repealed and replaced Obamacare and we have fulfilled our promise of offering real, conservative solutions for Americans. As debate in the Senate proceeds, I will be continue to be engaged and monitor the process. If you would like more information about the House-passed bill, please go to readthebill.gop for the full text and summaries of the American Health Care Act. More work lies ahead to rebuild our health-care system and stabilize the insurance markets and passing the American Health Care Act was a critical first step in that effort. 

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