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Congressman Andy Barr

Representing All the People of Kentucky's Sixth District

Healthcare

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.

Congressman Barr at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital in Lexington.

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

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:

Mr. Speaker,  

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.

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) today voted in favor of a budget resolution which sets the stage for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The same budget reconciliation process was used in 2016 to get repeal legislation to President Obama, who vetoed the bill.

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) today voted in favor of H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act which includes numerous reforms to expedite the discovery, development, and delivery of new treatments and cures.  Specifically, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be given flexibility to expedite the review and approval of new drugs, medical devices, and treatments.

Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) today made the following statement after the President’s State of the Union Address:

“What the country needs is a plan to defeat ISIS.  What we need is an agenda to grow the economy.  Instead, President Obama gave us a lecture about his legacy and in defense of policies that have contributed to the worst economic recovery since World War II and chaos around the world.  Families continue to struggle and there is not a single place in the world which is safer or more stable today than on the day President Obama took office seven years ago.”

Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) today voted for H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act.  The legislation repeals the most damaging Obamacare mandates and taxes, and denies funding for Planned Parenthood of America through the budget reconciliation process, which is not subject to a Senate filibuster.

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) today argued in favor of H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Barr cited the recent collapse of Kentucky Health Cooperative in addition to the bankruptcies of cooperatives in other states as evidence of Obamacare’s continued failures, and the need for a new approach to expand access to care and lower costs.

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) voted for H.R. 3134, the Defunding Planned Parenthood Act of 2015.  The vote comes in the aftermath of a series of videos that feature senior level Planned Parenthood officials admitting to unethical and potentially illegal procedures.

“The recently revealed videos of Planned Parenthood officials admitting to the barbaric and potentially illegal practice of manipulating abortions to harvest and sell organs and body parts of unborn children should be of great concern to every American,” said Congressman Barr. 

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) issued the following statement today after the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of King v. Burwell:

“I appreciate the Court’s consideration of this case, but I strongly and respectfully disagree with the majority opinion.  Laws should be implemented as they are written, not as the President wishes they were written.  The ruling may temporarily shield many Americans from the true cost of health care under Obamacare but it does nothing to solve the problem of rising prices and government-rationed care.”

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) and Senator John Barrasso (WY) today introduced the Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act.  The legislation would allow physicians who can demonstrate they followed recommended best practices developed by the physician community to benefit from increased liability protection in the form of a legal safe harbor.  By reducing the necessary practice of defensive medicine and increasing adherence to evidence-based medicine this legislation has the potential to help lower health care costs while improving the quality of care for patients.

Congressmen Andy Barr (R-KY) and John Carney (D-DE) announced the introduction of H.R. 2362, the Medical Debt Relief Act. This bill would require credit reporting agencies to remove medical debt from a credit report within 45 days of the debt being either settled or paid in full.  Currently, consumers may have to wait for up to seven years for paid medical debt to be removed from their credit report.