In one of my first acts as a Member of Congress, I voted for H.Res. 48, which started the process of repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a reformed system of coverage. This process, called reconciliation, will be used to repeal the law and put in place measures to stimulate competition and lower costs for all of us. The building blocks of our replacement should include provisions like tax deductibility for premiums so individuals receive the same tax benefit as people with company plans, health savings accounts so money can be put away tax free to use for health care and health insurance, and elimination of coverage mandates so you and I can buy the coverage we want, not a “one size fits all” top-down government mandate. Pre-existing conditions and the young adult coverage presently in the ACA will be part of this reformed system.
Dr. Tom Price was confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on February 10th by the U.S. Senate. He will begin the work to complete an administrative review to achieve a smooth and effective transition from Obamacare to a patient choice-based system, to remove anti-competitive provisions of the law, and to re-establish a market in which private insurers can provide the ranges of coverage we want to purchase.
Alongside the work of HHS, Congress will enact additional reforms to further drive health care decisions back to us, the patients, instead of insurance companies and healthcare systems. One of these reforms is to allow the purchase of health insurance anywhere in the country, like buying a car, instead of being restricted to the anti-competitive roadblocks set up by the insurers, nurtured by Obamacare, in each state. The goal will be a personalized, patient-centered system providing more choice and control at more competitive prices.
Social Security and Medicare
I am committed to protecting Social Security and Medicare. No changes should ever be made that would negatively impact current enrollees or those nearing retirement. Our seniors have worked hard all of their lives to earn these benefits and have planned their retirements counting on these benefits.
To ensure coverage for future generations, there has been an ongoing conversation among policy makers and the public regarding structural changes to both programs. Social Security is projected to become insolvent by 2035 while Medicare is projected to run out of money in 2028. Many young people are aware of the situation and believe both programs should be improved for their future.
I believe that Medicare and Social Security should be preserved, protected and strengthened. In 2015, the federal government spent $646 billion on Medicare while Social Security benefits totaled $877 billion. With the U.S. national debt rapidly approaching $20 trillion, these levels of spending are unsustainable.
The House Ways and Means Committee has been active in identifying solutions for both programs and will work on how best to preserve them for future generations. While I do not serve on this Committee, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind should any legislation affecting these issues come to the House floor.