Mark's Weekly Update - 5-11-17
House Passes American Healthcare Act
As you probably know, last week the House passed a newly revised version of the American Healthcare Act (AHCA). The new version of the bill was supported by myself and my colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus.
From the very beginning of this process, I’ve stated that my goals were to 1) bring down premiums for Americans, and 2) protect those with pre-existing conditions. When the original version of this bill was released, I did not feel that either goal would be accomplished, and thus, I made it clear that I would not support the bill without substantial changes.
After weeks of negotiations, meetings, countless hours of discussion, and substantive changes to the bill, I’m thrilled to say that significant improvements were made. I believe we reached the point where both of these criteria will be met—premiums will go down, and people with pre-existing conditions will have a real, reliable safety net.
While there are a lot of individuals who deserve credit for this, I particularly want to recognize my friend, Congressman Tom MacArthur, for his work in negotiating the closing details of the bill. He was a critical player in getting this done.
I also want to thank President Trump—I cannot tell you all how much I’ve seen this President work behind the scenes to bring this deal home. You have a President that is incredibly focused on keeping his campaign promises to you. This bill is a major step in that agenda and a major step toward repealing and replacing Obamacare.
This has been a long process, and there is still work to be done with my Senate colleagues on improving the bill—but last week’s vote is a vital step in bringing relief to so many Americans that are being crushed by the broken system of Obamacare. Today we are one step closer. Help is on the way.
To read my full statement, click here.
Speaking at the Rose Garden after the passage of the AHCA
Working with the Senate
As we move forward in the healthcare policy debate, keep in mind that the AHCA is still going through an extensive legislative process in the Senate. When the Senate makes changes, the bill will come back to the House where the two bodies will reach an agreement on a proposal. Right now I am actively working with my Senate colleagues on negotiations to ensure that we get the best outcome possible for the American people.
You can read about those conversations here. I will keep working with them until we reach a solution that finishes the job.
Standing with President Trump at the Rose Garden (photo from Reuters)
Pre-existing Condition Protections
As you’ve probably heard me say many times by now, protecting people with pre-existing conditions was one of my chief concerns throughout the entire healthcare debate. In fact, the issue of pre-existing conditions was among the reasons I opposed the original version of the AHCA—despite pressure from even those in my own party.
While the bill is not perfect, I believe that after weeks of negotiations and substantive changes from the original version, the AHCA now strikes a positive balance between eliminating burdensome regulations, giving States options, and not leaving people with pre-existing conditions vulnerable. It would go a long way in accomplishing our goals of bringing premiums down and providing a better, more reliable safety net of protection for those at risk.
Specifically, protections such as “guaranteed issue” and “continuous coverage” remain on the books. What this means is that a state waiver will not apply to anyone who has insurance right now or maintains their already existing plan. In other words, if you are someone with a pre-existing condition who has signed up for coverage already on an Obamacare plan (or another insurance plan), your protections will still apply even if your state applies for a waiver from the Health and Human Services Department.
Furthermore, even if you do not maintain insurance coverage and your state successfully applies for a waiver, your state would still be required to establish a high-risk pool to help offset some of the costs associated with additional fees.
To read more about exactly what the bill does with pre-existing conditions, I encourage you to read this National Review article here. Below are some bullet points quoted from the article to give you an idea of what the bill accomplishes.
- Under the new bill, States would be able to waive Obamacare rules on preexisting conditions only for people who do not maintain insurance coverage.
- If you are someone with one of those conditions who has gotten coverage through Obamacare (or otherwise gotten coverage), the Obamacare regulations will still apply: In no state will it be possible for an insurance company to charge you more than a person without such a condition.
- If you are someone who has insurance and develops one of these conditions, you too will be covered by the Obamacare regulations. Insurers will not be able to charge you extra, either, under any waiver.
- People with preexisting conditions, then, would have a triple safety net even in a state that took maximum use of the waivers: Tax credits, regulatory protection contingent on continuous coverage, and high-risk pools would all benefit them.
Small Business Week
This week Congress observed Small Business Week, and let me tell you, there is no better small business community anywhere than right at home in Western North Carolina.
When I think about the highlights of coming home, without a doubt, the visits to my friends and neighbors at local businesses in the area are at the top of the list every time. There are too many memories and pictures to count, but I thought you might enjoy some of the highlights here. These are the people that truly make our economy go. Thank you to the small businesses owners in WNC and around the country for all you and your hardworking employees do!
The Regulations Rollback Continues
President Donald Trump continues to unlock our job creators by rolling back excessive and burdensome Obama-era regulations.
You may remember earlier this year when my office put out a recommendation list of rules and regulations for President Trump to roll back through Executive Order. Many of those regulations on the list have already been cut or significantly tailored. Last week, another set of those were added to the list as the President ordered steps to reduce the costly and ineffective Obama school lunch regulations.
Every day we continue to make significant progress in reigning in the out of control bureaucracy in Washington. Let's keep pushing forward! To read more, click here.
Another Positive Jobs Report
We received great news from Friday's Jobs Report! Our economy added over 211,000 new jobs, and the jobless rate is at its lowest point in the last 10 years.
We have a long road ahead, but we're off to a great start in getting needless bureaucracy out of the way of everyday Americans on Main Street. Click here to read more.