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Walberg Statement on the American Health Care Act

May 4, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07) released the following statement today after voting for the American Health Care Act:

“Obamacare is on the brink of collapse and has failed to live up to its many promises. Families and small businesses are facing skyrocketing premiums and insurers are dropping out of the marketplaces leaving behind fewer options. One-third of the counties in the United States only have one insurance provider to choose from and some counties have no choice at all. We told our constituents we would fix the mess Obamacare created, and this legislation is an important step towards undoing the damage and providing relief. It moves power away from Washington, gives flexibility to states, and puts doctors and patients at the center of their health care decisions. It brings back choice and competition, drives down costs, and provides protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. As this bill heads to the Senate, we must continue working on solutions to rescue families from a rapidly collapsing health care system.”

Answering Your Questions About American Health Care Act

I have a pre-existing condition. How does this bill affect me?
Under our plan, insurance companies cannot deny you coverage based on pre-existing conditions. And your health status cannot affect your premiums, unless your state asks for and receives a waiver—a waiver which can only be approved if the state has other protections in place for those with pre-existing conditions. Even if your state does obtain a waiver, so long as you’ve been continuously covered, you still cannot be charged more. And the bill provides added resources to help people in waiver states who have not been continuously covered to gain coverage. Bottom line, there are many levels of protection for those with pre-existing conditions in the legislation. 

I heard about an amendment allowing states to waive protections for pre-existing conditions. If this happens, will I lose all my benefits? 
No. This amendment preserves protections for people with pre-existing conditions while giving states greater flexibility to lower premiums and stabilize the insurance market. To obtain a waiver, states will have to establish programs to serve people with pre-existing conditions. And no matter what, insurance companies cannot deny you coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Will Michigan seek a waiver?
According to news reports, Governor Snyder has said he does not plan to seek a waiver.

Does the AHCA classify rape or sexual assault as a pre-existing condition?
No. The Washington Post fact checker called this baseless claim “out-of-control rhetoric” and gave it Four Pinocchios.

Are Members of Congress exempt from this bill?
No. Members of Congress and their staff are not exempt. The House unanimously passed H.R. 2192, which requires Congress to live under the American Health Care Act just like everyone else.

Why are you voting to kick 24 million people off health care?
We’re not. AHCA will ensure everyone has access to affordable, quality health care, but we’re just not forcing people to buy insurance. Moreover, that estimate failed to take into account other planned legislative and administrative actions, which will help bring down costs and expand coverage.

Why are you cutting women’s health services?
That's not the case. In fact, we’re expanding women’s access to health services by redirecting Planned Parenthood dollars to community health centers, which vastly outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics.

Why does Obamacare need to be replaced?
Obamacare is on the brink of collapse and has failed to live up to its many promises, namely:

  • Families were promised “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” That promise turned out to be the “Lie of the Year,” and instead, millions of Americans lost their health care plans they were told they could keep.
  • Families were promised “if you like your doctor, you can keep doctor.” This promise was also broken and far too many Americans had to look elsewhere for a physician.
  • Families were 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.
  • Families were promised more health care options to choose from, but instead choices have dwindled. In fact, in roughly 1,000 counties across the country there is only one insurance provider to pick from—which is not a choice at all.

Across the country, the average family has been faced with double digit premium increases. In Michigan, premiums jumped by nearly 17 percent in 2017. And in states like Arizona, premiums skyrocketed by a whopping 116 percent. The problems with Obamacare can’t be ignored—we must act now to fix health care before things get even worse and costs go even higher.