House Ways and Means members lead passage of Obamacare replacement plan

The House Ways and Means Committee advanced legislation last week to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with support from U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Tom Rice (R-SC).

Members of the committee took part in an 18-hour markup of the American Health Care Act before voting to advance the bill. The legislation would repeal the individual and employer mandates under Obamacare and preserve protections for patients so they won’t be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.

“The end of Obamacare and the start of a better health care system began this morning and will continue until cost-lowering, patient-centered health care for every American is fully achieved,” Kelly said. “This is news of enormous relief for American workers, families, seniors, those who are sick and vulnerable, and those who give them medical care.”

In addition, the measure would give families the ability to spend health care dollars however they choose.

“… My colleagues and I in Congress will fulfill our promise to relieve the nation of Obamacare while avoiding the mistakes of its disastrous creation,” Kelly said. “Through it all, we will guarantee that this delicate process remains honest, open, and transparent for the American people.”

Paulsen has previously introduced legislation to rollback the ACA’s excise tax on medical devices and equipment, and he has championed initiatives to expand the use of health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs).

“After many years and countless stories of patients facing skyrocketing premiums, losing their health care plan, and not being able to see their doctor, we are replacing Obamacare with a plan that will lower costs and give patients immediate relief,” Paulsen said. “I am glad to see two initiatives that I helped lead — the repeal of the harmful medical device tax as well as the enhancement and expansion of health savings accounts — included in these reforms, because they will help American families have access to high-quality health care.”

Rice said the committee was trying to do a blanket repeal of all the taxes that were instituted under the Affordable Care Act.”

In Rice’s home state of South Carolina, health care premiums have risen across the board, an average of nearly 30 percent. The entire state only has one provider, which is threatening to pull out.

“You’re taxing health care providers and then telling the American public that health care costs will go down because of that,” Rice said. “How absurd is that? That you would tax health care providers, make their expenses go up, and then really expect that health care costs would go down.”