Congressman Francis Rooney: Time to Repeal, Replace Obamacare

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Time to Repeal, Replace Obamacare , January 14, 2017 | comments
Congressman Francis Rooney (FL-19)

The recent election proves that America wants change. The American people have spoken up loudly and clearly that Obamacare must go. As Congress moves to repeal it, we must ensure that no one is blindsided or left without coverage. This should not be a return to pre-Obamacare status quos; but rather a new approach that puts you – the patient – first, and brings choice and competition to health insurance.

Patients, doctors, and businesses have been dealing with the failures of Obamacare since it was enacted. Millions of hardworking Americans have felt the pain of skyrocketing costs and plummeting levels of care. Absolutely nothing about the “Affordable Care Act” has proven true; care isn’t cheaper, deductibles aren’t lower, premiums have soared and if you like your doctor, chances are you haven’t been able to keep him or her. While on the campaign trail, a common theme from Southwest Florida constituents was how harmful Obamacare has been.

Nearly every person I spoke with shared a personal story of how this law has negatively affected their life. Some experienced delayed care or loss of their doctor, often after many years of having a personal relationship with him or her. Others experienced a crushing financial burden; some were actually forced to drop coverage because paying such high monthly premiums was no longer possible. Paying more for increasingly worse service, and markedly fewer options, is not what was promised by President Obama and the congressional democrats who forced this law upon us.

We all know it is time to repeal and replace it with something better that lowers costs, increases access and puts you back in control of your health care decisions. Most importantly, Congress must ensure that constituents are fully informed of all changes and how their lives will be impacted during the transition.

Given the mess President Obama has made of our health care system, the fix will be complicated and will involve a legislative effort to produce a complete repeal-and-replacement.

The first step in fixing our health care system will be to repeal Obamacare by means of the budget reconciliation process – a fast-track legislative procedure that is filibuster-proof in the Senate and provides a clear path for repeal with a simple majority of votes. The resolution that sets this process in motion was voted on in the House this week.

Next, we must get Dr. Tom Price confirmed and in office as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He will have broad powers under the law to overhaul much of our health care system. Dr. Price’s background in medicine ensures the doctor-patient relationship will be strengthened. His experience gives him a unique perspective to find and close loopholes and solve potential problems before they occur.

Simultaneously to having Dr. Price begin his administrative overhaul, Congress is constructing a detailed replacement for Obamacare. Critical components being discussed are: ability to purchase insurance from anywhere in the country, regardless of state lines; commonsense medical liability reform to lower costs; and protections for those with preexisting conditions. Additionally, I personally support removing anti-trust exemptions for medical insurance plans, which will further increase competition.

There is no escaping the fact that President Obama left our health care system in shambles. It’s going to take focused leadership to fix this broken system and put patients first.

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