Was I just complaining about the lack of response from Rep. Rohrabacher? Well, excuse me. I just received THREE IDENTICAL email responses to my letter regarding the Republican attempt to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act.Well, they were boilerplate responses, and I'm not sure I see the need for the arrival of three of them simultaneously, but let's not carp. Here's the Congressman's letter"
Dear Mr. Clothier,
Thank you for contacting me with your views regarding
H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.
As you may know, H.R. 1628 was introduced by Representative Diane Black of Tennessee on March 20, 2017, and subsequently referred to the House Committee on Budget. If enacted, this bill would, among other things, significantly modify laws and regulations relating to health insurance in the United States by amending the budgetary portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. These changes include, but are not limited to: (1) repeal of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, (2) repeal of the employer requirement to offer health insurance to employees if the company retains 50 employees or more, (3) repeal of the Medicaid expansion, which allowed states to consider individuals with income at 133% of the poverty line eligible for Medicaid, (4) repeal of cost-sharing subsidies and (5) the establishment of a refundable tax credit to assist those affected by these changes with the purchase of health insurance.
Since its enactment, the ACA has inflicted economic harm throughout the nation in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, increases in costs to small businesses in the form of compliance mandates, higher health insurance premiums on individuals, and increased taxes. These and other provisions of the ACA are bad for health care consumers as well as for the larger economy. As a result of President Obama’s and Congressional Democrats’ misguided attempt to control health care costs through heavy federal regulation and punitive taxes, many Americans are struggling as they see their premiums skyrocket, their coverage lost, and/or their ability to choose a plan that best fits their needs eliminated. Ironically, the implementation of this new law was described by one of its authors, Senator Max Baucus, as a "huge train wreck." It has indeed lived up to that moniker.
Republicans have called for the repeal of the ACA since its enactment in 2010, understanding then that many of the above listed problems would ensue. In order to rectify as many of these ills as possible, Congress initiated a procedure called Budget Reconciliation by passing S.Con.Res. 3 in the Senate on January 12, 2017, and the House on January 13, 2017. That concurrent resolution set federal budget priorities for fiscal year 2018 through 2026 and directed the relevant committees of jurisdiction to write legislation that “reconciled” spending to the agreed to levels specifically relating to U.S. healthcare policy and the ACA. As delineated in the Budget Act of 1974, this process allows for the House of Representatives and Senate to consider H.R. 1628 under expedited reconciliation procedures. Importantly, considering the bill under reconciliation means that it would not be subject to the Senate’s usual 60-vote threshold to end debate and break a filibuster.
The House of Representatives scheduled a vote on H.R. 1628 for March 23, 2017. That vote was postponed to March 24, 2017, and ultimately canceled, because it became clear to House leadership that there were insufficient votes in the House to pass the bill. It is my expectation that the House will consider a modified version of this bill that can garner consensus so that we can get to work on fixing the problems created by Obama Administration’s healthcare policy that focused on mandates and regulation rather than incentives and choice. I hope that we can do so before the ACA completes the process of collapse it is currently undergoing so the American people can transition smoothly to a healthcare system that is friendly to consumers and businesses, patient-centered, and market-oriented.
Again, thank you for giving me the benefit of your views. Please continue to keep me informed on any federal issue of importance to you.
Member of Congress