The health care law, commonly known as Obamacare, is hurting people in Michigan right now and we must act to fix this law before things get even worse.
There are better ways of addressing the problems in our health care system than imposing big government solutions that only limit choice and remove decision-making from individuals. I’m working with my colleagues to implement real health care reform and enact a truly patient-centered system with more choices and lower costs.
The Trustees for Medicare predict that the program will go bankrupt by 2028, resulting in immediate cuts to Medicare for seniors. Additionally, Obamacare raided more than $800 billion from Medicare.
We must keep our promise to the 50 million Americans who rely on Medicare and work to save and strengthen Medicare for current seniors and future recipients. In February 2017, I introduced legislation, H.R. 1218, which would protect future surpluses by creating a lockbox that prevents these funds from being spent on other federal programs.
Fixing the Broken Health Care System
I am working to provide people in Michigan with relief from the failures of Obamacare by supporting patient-centered solutions that promote consumer choice, decrease health care costs and improve access to care.
In May 2017, I voted to advance the American Health Care Act, a responsible replacement of Obamacare which encourages choice and competition to lower costs, maintains important protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, and puts doctors and patients – not Washington – at the center of health care decisions. You may read the text of the American Health Care Act here.
As we look to increase choices for health care, I’ve also joined with my colleague Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and introduced H.R. 1101, the Small Business Health Fairness Act, to empower small businesses to provide their employees greater access to quality, affordable health care. By allowing small businesses to band together through association health plans, we can lower health care costs for working families. In March 2017, H.R. 1101 passed the House with bipartisan support.
Additionally, in January 2018, the Department of Labor issued rules to expand the opportunity for small businesses and sole proprietors to band together and offer employment-based health insurance through Association Health Plans.
Congress also acted to provide families with much-needed relief and flexibility to buy the health care that’s right for them if they choose. The individual mandate penalty tax is at the core of Obamacare, making it illegal for individuals to not purchase a health plan. As a result, people must purchase a plan with an expensive premium they may not be able to afford or pay a fine if they choose to not purchase a plan. In December 2017, I voted to eliminate this onerous tax so that the government doesn’t punish Americans for making the health care decision that is best for them and their family’s needs.
The “Affordable Care Act” is Unaffordable
I consistently hear from constituents who have been hit with skyrocketing premium increases, higher deductibles and soaring out-of-pocket costs, and few health care options. Without action, people in Michigan will continue to suffer from:
Double-Digit Premium Hikes
Even though President Obama promised that premiums would decline by $2,500 per family, the reality is that the average annual family premiums in the employer-sponsored market have soared by roughly $4,300 and now total more than $18,000 annually.
In October 2016, the Obama Administration announced sharp premium increases for health insurance coverage on the Obamacare exchanges. These increases are nearly four times larger than previously projected, and in Michigan, individual health plans jumped an average of 16.7%.
Deductibles have grown under Obamacare and individual plans in the employer-sponsored market are up an average of 60 percent since 2010 – from $917 to $1,478 in 2016.
Rather than encouraging people to sign up for care, Obamacare’s increased costs have actually discouraged enrollments. In 2015, roughly 8 million Americans paid the individual mandate penalty rather than purchase too-costly health insurance.
Fewer Choices for Care
Already, 18 of the original 23 Obamacare CO-OPs have failed, further reducing provider options and costing taxpayers of more than $1.8 billion, including nearly $72 million from Michigan’s failed CO-OP.
Michigan families, particularly those who live in rural communities, are finding they have fewer in-network providers and must travel long distances to find care.
Promoting Medical Research and Life-Saving Cures
Groundbreaking research and innovation is happening all around us, particularly in health care. Unfortunately, existing government rules cannot keep pace with these scientific developments and hold back the approval of new drugs and treatments for some of the worst diseases.
In November 2016, I supported the 21st Century Cures Act, landmark initiative to invest in medical research, streamline outdated bureaucracy, and expedite the development of new cures and treatments. This bipartisan effort will offer hope to the millions of patients and families who are in the midst of battling cancer and diseases and was signed into law in December 2016.
Additionally, in July 2017, I supported and Congress passed H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, which reauthorizes the Food and Drug Administration’s critical user fee programs, ensuring the agency has the tools they need to deliver safe and effective drugs, devices, and treatments, to patients more swiftly. FDARA will help keep our country on the forefront of medical innovation and is the result of bipartisan negotiations conducted by my colleagues on the Energy & Commerce Committee. In August 2017, FDARA was signed into law, P.L 115-52.
Modernizing the Mental Health Care System
Mental health issues touch every community in Michigan and we all know families who struggle with mental health issues on a daily basis. In the current system, far too many individuals are slipping through the cracks, becoming homeless or incarcerated, and not getting the help and treatment they need.
To bring long-sought reforms to our mental health care system, I supported The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, the most significant mental health care overhaul in decades which became law in December 2016. The legislation advances significant bipartisan reforms to enhance evidence-based treatment, expand the mental health workforce, help reach underserved and rural populations, and remove barriers to care.
Health Care Websites
09/26/2017 - Sponsored Legislation: H.R. 3891, Medicaid Fraud Control Units Improvement
02/24/2017 - Sponsored Legislation: H.R. 1218 Social Security and Medicare Lockbox Act
07/27/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.J.Res. 5, to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)
07/24/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 1825, Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2017
07/13/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 1222, Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2017
03/22/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 849 Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act
03/20/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 820 Childhood Cancer STAR Act
02/16/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 1121 Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act
02/16/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 1101 Small Business Health Fairness Act