Party's health care promise falls far short
March 20, 2017
By U.S. Congressman Raul Labrador
Fresh off of an election that delivered a
unified Republican government, the nation is in
a position to finally see the realization of the
party’s biggest campaign promise — the total
repeal of Obamacare.
In its place, Republicans have been promising
for years, we would enact measures to curb the
ever-rising costs of healthcare and expand
access throughout the country.
This is what I promised to my constituents:
address the costs of healthcare to make
patient-centered coverage affordable to all
Last week, House leadership produced a bill that
fell far short of that commitment.
For anyone who wanted to believe that the
American Health Care Act (AHCA) would truly
repeal Obamacare, the first legislative words of
the bill, “… the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act … is amended” are a painful
reminder that House leadership has very
Instead of taking their promise seriously,
Speaker Ryan and the other authors of this bill
have drafted legislation that amends Obamacare
to ensure perpetual federal involvement in the
health insurance industry and ignores any
Many things need to be improved in this bill,
but these two are most important.
Lowering the true cost of care, without
government picking up the check through a
subsidy or tax credit, should be foremost on our
minds. A fundamentally important aspect of this
strategy is to lower the costs that insurance
companies and healthcare providers incur by
easing the needless regulatory burden imposed on
them by Obamacare. This bill does nothing to
address those regulations.
Obamacare forced consumers to buy insurance with
the threat of a tax penalty for remaining
uninsured, “the individual mandate.” For those
with little or no income, the government used
taxpayer dollars to provide subsidies to lower
the premium’s cost and incentivize the purchase
After fighting against this government subsidy
for years, Speaker Ryan and House leadership
have decided to embrace it.
Under the AHCA, individuals who don’t maintain
insurance for a set period of time will incur
30% higher premiums. To help those who can’t
afford coverage on their own, the government
will use taxpayer dollars to provide “refundable
tax credits” that an individual could use to
purchase insurance. Far from working to reduce
costs, this proposal mainly serves as an avenue
to funnel government money into the coffers of
health insurance companies.
Instead of a true repeal, House leadership has
delivered us a rewording of a bill that sent
healthcare AND insurance costs skyrocketing.
Much like their already broken promises,
leadership now promises this is only step one.
Steps two and three, they claim, will give us
the full repeal Americans are owed. But if it
were that easy, why not go all the way now? That
answer is obvious: “Steps two and three” will
never fully materialize.
Talk is cheap and actions are what matter.
That’s why I’m fighting for Idahoans and making
sure that any bill that wins my support isn’t an
Obamacare-lite measure created by House
leadership behind closed doors.
I owe it to you, and Congress owes it to the
American people, to put in the time and effort
necessary to provide a comprehensive reform of a
healthcare system concerned more with money and
profit than compassion and outcome.
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