Keep Working to Repeal Obamacare

March 17, 2017
Press Release

 

Dear Friends:

President Trump has endorsed a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. His plan, called the American Health Care Act, is described as the first of three immediate steps occurring to end this nightmare. Remember, ObamaCare was implemented over several bills, with tons of executive overreach. Administrative corrections and legislation clearing the 60-vote Senate threshold must follow. For this bill, however, we only need 51 Senate votes.

I’ll be frank — I’m not crazy about it. I wanted to like it, especially after hearing from ObamaCare’s victims: prices skyrocketing, premiums rising, plans closing, coverage decreasing. I wanted to like it, because the thought of government forcing people to buy anything — much less health insurance — disgusts me. We know ObamaCare is a wet blanket over our economy, smothering the job-creating ambition of small businesses. I wanted to love this bill…I just didn’t.

We should be going bolder. We should get the federal government out of health care completely, not just diminish its role.

Then I remembered Tom. I met him at Waffle House. His hashbrowns were smothered& covered; his question was direct: “How will you decide which way to vote on stuff?,” he asked while wiping ketchup from his mustache. 

I told him I’d vote for bills that got power out of Washington — and against ones that didn’t. He grumbled on the way out, “Don’t lie to me” — and took a bumper sticker. 

There is no debate that the American Health Care Act means less power for DC. Specifically, under Trump’s plan, the federal government cannot:

provide taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood,
enroll illegal aliens in health care entitlements — and check their immigration status later,
tax people for not buying government-mandated health insurance,
stop associations or groups from forming their own risk pools,
punish businesses for hiring more employees, or
force you away from your doctor or plan. 
It also reduces the deficit by $337 Billion over 10 years. These are big conservative wins. 

With several key changes, this bill would be much bolder. It wouldn’t be perfect — but better. 

There should be a work requirement. Able-bodied, childless adults who can work and choose not to should not expect America to borrow money from China to pay for their health care. Everyone can contribute to society — if not through a job or skills enhancement, then by volunteering. This will help curb costs and engage all Americans in productivity.

Medicaid can’t keep expanding. Already, 1 in 4 Americans is on Medicaid. The bill currently takes the position that Medicaid can expand for 2.5 more years before it is ultimately contracted. This is like hoping to lose weight by planning to diet in 2.5 years — and eating everything in sight until then. 

States should be totally in charge of Medicaid. The federal government has proven an incompetent operator of the Medicaid program. We need 50 laboratories of democracy, totally unconstrained, innovating for better health care and lower costs. Some state will get it right; others will copy.

It’s easy to vote “no,” and blame others for not bending to my will. It’s harder to persuade others that the conservative way is the Better Way. 

I serve on the Budget Committee. Today my conservative colleagues and I will offer Budgetary “Motions of Instruction” to address these issues. If they pass, the Rules Committee can accept our amendments to drain this swamp even lower.

I’ll vote to keep the conversation going — to keep the legislative process focused on free-market, patient-centered healthcare. Giving up or accepting failure, simply because the initial version of this bill underwhelms, is not an option.

I owe Tom a strong fight to make President Trump’s bill better. I also owe him whatever vote gives him more power, and Washington less. Let’s keep working.

 

Sincerely,

 

Matt Gaetz