As I have traveled throughout the Sixth Congressional District, I have been very upfront about my opposition to the President’s health care law. I frequently hear from constituents that Obamacare is simply making their life more difficult and their health care more unaffordable.
These stories range from families losing their current employer-sponsored coverage, to young people facing skyrocketing premiums, to small businesses holding off on hiring new workers or reducing employee’s hours due to uncertainty regarding the employer mandate, to seniors worrying about the extent to which the Independent Payment Advisory Board and the law’s $716 billion in cuts to Medicare will limit their access to care. On top of all of this, the law includes twenty-one new tax increases totaling over $1 trillion, and open-ended spending on a new entitlement that we simply cannot afford.
This is why I have worked in Congress to protect the American people from the consequences of Obamacare by voting to repeal the law and replace it with patient-centered reforms that will lower costs without growing government.
Expanding access to affordable, quality care without putting bureaucrats between patients and doctors has been a top priority of mine for the 113th Congress. I believe that this can be accomplished through reforms that emphasize the physician-patient relationship, and also encourage portability of coverage. These solutions include, but are not limited to, supplementing the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance with a series of individual and family tax credits to make health insurance premiums more affordable; authorizing interstate competition among the 1,300 private health insurers to increase options and drive down costs; enacting sensible medical liability reform to prevent defensive medicine; expanding association health plans to allow small businesses and the self-employed to group together to purchase coverage on a more affordable basis; and promoting consumerism though high deductible insurance policies and tax-free health savings accounts that reconnect the health care consumer to the cost of health care services. To solve the problem of pre-existing conditions, I support funding for state-based high risk pools.
Going forward, I will work to enact these reforms to our nation’s health care system which I believe are sustainable, protect the doctor-patient relationship, expand access to care while lowering the cost of delivering health care, and are centered around the American people, not Washington. While we may have differences with respect to specific policy solutions, we can all agree that the American people deserve a health care system that provides quality care to patients at affordable prices which encourages wellness and medical innovation.
I also believe that we need to further promote medical innovation. Federal grants provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offer researchers a vital opportunity to perform pioneering research that will ultimately cure some of the most deadly and serious diseases impacting human health. That is why I believe we must couple a strong commitment to NIH research with reform of our current mandatory spending programs, including Medicare. If left unchanged, Medicare will continue to consume an ever-increasing percentage of our federal budget and crowd out our ability to sufficiently fund the NIH. A strong level of funding for the NIH is critical if the United States is going to continue to play a leading role in medical research, and going forward, I will continue to advocate for robust funding for the NIH.
Among the healthcare initiatives I have supported:
- I have voted for several measures to repeal or replace all of or components of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. This includes H.R. 3350, the Keep Your Health Plan Act, which keeps the promise the President made: “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.” I have also cosponsored legislation to repeal the medical device tax in Obamacare, which will raise the cost of devices like pacemakers and hamper medical innovation.
- I introduced H.R. 2010, the Live by the Laws You Write Act, which closes a congressional loophole in the law to require all Members of Congress and their staffs – including committee staff and leadership staff in the House and Senate – to enroll in the healthcare exchanges. If Congress is going to apply a law to the American people, no Members of Congress or their staffs should be exempt.
- I cosponsored H.R. 565, the Cardiomyopathy HEARTS (Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment, and Training in the Schools) Act. This legislation helps identify children at risk of sudden cardiac arrest and prevent unnecessary, premature deaths. The Cardiomyopathy HEARTS Act aims to raise awareness of cardiomyopathy and the risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) among school personnel, parents and students.
- I cosponsored H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. The ABLE Act would amend the tax code to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. I cosponsored this bill to ease the financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, and transportation.
More on Healthcare
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) today applauded the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for awarding an $87 million grant to the University of Kentucky to launch a HEALing Communities Study to help end our nation’s opioid crisis. This program will test an integrated community-based approach to address the opioid crisis with a goal of decreasing opioid overdose deaths by 40 percent in select communities over three years.
Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) issued the following statement after Democrats in the U.S. Senate ended their filibuster of a short-term appropriations bill that had shut down the federal government since Saturday:
Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) issued the following statement after Senate Democrats blocked House-passed legislation to keep the government open, fund our military, and reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program:
“After passing all twelve appropriations bills ahead of schedule, more than five months ago, and reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance program in November, the House did its job yet again by passing legislation to keep the government open, fund our military, and ensure access to health care for children in need.”
Congressman Barr issued the following statement after attending the President’s declaration of the opioid epidemic as a National Public Health Emergency:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY-06) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced today that Chrysalis House, Inc. (CHI) in Lexington, Kentucky has received a $2.62 million competitive federal grant which will help CHI provide expanded comprehensive, high-quality residential substance abuse treatment for low-income, pregnant or postpartum women and their children.
Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) today voted in favor of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, legislation that will repeal most of Obamacare’s mandates, taxes, and regulations while making important reforms that will lower costs and expand access to care.
As the House prepares to vote on the American Health Care Act, it is important to debunk some of the myths surrounding the bill and answer your questions:
Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) today issued the following statement after voting for the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which funds the government through September 30, 2017:
Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) today issued the following statement:
Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about the American Health Care Act.
Remarks as delivered:
Obamacare is collapsing. It’s hurting more people than it’s helping. It’s forcing Americans to buy insurance they don’t like, they don’t need, and cannot afford. Premiums have increased by an average of 25 percent this year, deductibles are skyrocketing.