In letters, phone calls, and at town hall meetings, the majority of questions I receive from constituents are about the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating through various news outlets and social media channels, so I’d like to take this opportunity to address some of the most common questions and misconceptions surrounding the American Health Care Act.

“What about the deplorable GOP plan that allows states to opt out of providing affordable health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions, forcing them into high risk pools where the premiums will be 5-10 times higher? Yet you’d be exempt from those harsh terms for obtaining health insurance and that’s just NOT FAIR.”

Posted on Facebook on May 1, 2017

States can only allow insurers to charge more if they first establish a high-risk pool, and then demonstrate to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) how they will either lower costs, expand access to care, or stabilize premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.

Regardless of a state waiver, a person with pre-existing conditions cannot be charged a different rate if they maintain their coverage.

Regarding the exemption noted in this question, I want to emphasize that Congress will not be exempt.

 

“Debating whether to bother calling @JimPressOffice about #AHCA. He’s obviously going to vote yes to probably take my family’s #healthcare.”

Posted on Twitter on May 3, 2017

The AHCA will protect Americans’ health care. In comparison, the result of implementing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been insurance companies routinely dropping out of the exchanges and forcing Americans to purchase different insurance plans – plans that force them to lose their doctors of choice.

In fact, President Obama’s promise that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” was Politifact’s Lie of the Year in 2013.

 

“You say you ran on replace/repeal & must honor. Trump/you promised no change to preexisting conditions. Why do you violate THAT commitment?”

Posted on Twitter on May 2, 2017

This charge has been widely circulated, but it is completely false. The Republican plan protects individuals with pre-existing conditions, and it will be illegal to be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition.

As noted above, states will only allow insurers to charge more if they first establish a risk pool, and then demonstrate to HHS how they will either lower costs, expand access to care, or stabilize premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.

 

“PLEASE explain why High Risk Death Pools result in improvement over ACA approach. Does govt provide insurance better than market?”

Posted on Twitter on May 2, 2017

High-risk pools were very successful in Wisconsin prior to the ACA. In fact, many Wisconsinites have contacted the Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner’s office to say that they prefer being in the high-risk pools rather than the ACA exchanges.

The ACA is in a death spiral, with insurance companies dropping out of the market place. This forces premiums to rise and hurts Americans – particularly those with pre-existing conditions and those in the middle class.

 

“Look at this #WI! @RepSeanDuffy @JimPressOffice @RepGallagher @RepGrothman all support a healthcare bill that doesn’t cover pre-exist conds!”

Posted on Twitter on May 2, 2017

The AHCA does not exclude coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

As noted previously, states can only allow insurers to charge more if they first establish a risk-pool, and then demonstrate to HHS how they will either lower costs, expand access to care, or stabilize premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.

Regardless of a state waiver, a person with pre-existing conditions cannot be charged a different rate if they maintain their coverage.

 

“Why don’t you want everyone to have healthcare? Single-payer looks like the way to go. Medicare for all.”

Posted on Facebook on April 18, 2017 

One of the fundamental things Republicans and Democrats agree on regarding health care is the fact that we want all Americans to have access to affordable, quality care.

Regarding Medicare – Medicare for all would end the U.S. health care system as we currently know it. The European socialized-medicine model is extremely expensive and deeply flawed. Those who live in these nations often have longer wait times to see their physicians, and when they finally do, their physicians offer rationed care that may not fully address their ailments.

The fact is that many individuals from socialized-medicine countries who can afford to come to the United States for their health care needs do because we have the most advanced medical procedures and treatments. If socialized medicine was truly the best health care option, this would not be the case.

 

“If Republicans would clamp down on the insurance companies, instead of lining your pockets, the ACA would certainly work.”

Posted on Facebook on April 18, 2017

The ACA was actually a nod to the insurance companies. The cost-sharing program was implemented to shield these companies from losses, and the Democrats used the program to entice insurers to participate in the exchanges.

The Republican plan addresses the constantly-rising costs of health insurance through its three-step approach to health care reform:

  1. The AHCA will reform the insurance market.
  2. HHS will deregulate the health care system to allow physicians to provide the care their patients need, rather than being dictated by unelected bureaucrats who have no medical expertise.
  3. Future health care reform legislation will attack the underlying cost drivers of health care through initiatives such as incentivizing the use of smaller clinics rather than using large, expensive hospitals; enacting medical malpractice, pharmaceutical and FDA, and medical education reform, and granting nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants greater autonomy to treat patients within the scope of their training.

 

“Seems to me that health care would be a lot easier to fix if the two parties worked together to fix it rather than constantly undermining each other.”

Posted on Facebook on April 18, 2017

I completely agree that health care reform would be easier if done with bipartisan cooperation. Although Democrats made no attempt to include Republican ideas into the ACA, Republicans have reached across the aisle time and again to work with Democrats on sensible solutions to our health care problems. Those attempts at bipartisan legislating were met by cold shoulders and a stubborn unwillingness to cooperate, so unfortunately it became necessary to move forward on legislation without their input. However, the door has always been open for Democrats to offer constructive ideas.

 

“The ACA does not raise premiums. The insurance companies do as a result of increased provider costs and the desire for increased profits.”

Posted on Facebook on April 18, 2017

Insurance companies are raising costs because the majority of people who participated in the ACA exchanges are those who consume the most in health care services. Healthy Americans have, and continue to choose to roll the dice rather than purchase insurance, which is something the Democrats did not anticipate when drafting the disastrous Obamacare law. That means that the risk-pools that insurers use to pay out claims have not been sufficiently funded, and the only way they will have enough money to pay for the number of claims from high-cost patients is to raise premiums.

 

“So you’re going to fix the problems with ACA by taking away my health insurance?”

Posted on Facebook on March 26, 2017

Unlike the ACA, the Republican plan will actually expand Americans’ access to health insurance options.

Under the ACA, the only way an individual could receive a subsidy is to participate in the government-run exchanges. Under the Republican plan, individuals can use tax credits to purchase any qualified health insurance plan.

 

“You have previously stated to your constituents that you would not support any cuts to Medicare. The ACHA eliminates the Medicare tax on the 1 percent resulting in a cut of $288 billion in funding for Medicare over the next 10 years. This will move the projected insolvency date from 2028 to 2025. How is that honoring your promise to your constituents?

Posted on Facebook on March 23, 2017

Cutting a tax is not the same as cutting Medicare.

While I support funding for Medicare, it desperately needs to be reformed in order to preserve it for future generations. We cannot continue to kick the can down the road.

President Obama’s Medicare tax increase directly hits the middle class by taking more of their income from their FICA payroll taxes.