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Congressman Andy Barr

Representing All the People of Kentucky's Sixth District

Rep. Barr Discusses the American Health Care Act

Mar 9, 2017

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.

Nearly 70 percent of U.S. counties have only two or fewer insurers offering plans on their state exchanges. Thirty-four percent fewer doctors and other healthcare providers accept Obamacare insurance compared to private insurance.

Congress must act decisively to protect the American people from this failed law.  The American Health Care Act is an important step in this process.  While not perfect, it moves us significantly in the right direction, which is why the Wall Street Journal says that the legislation would be “the most consequential social policy reform since the welfare overhaul of 1996.” 

I’m also encouraged that the committees of jurisdiction are, as we speak, entertaining amendments through regular order that will improve the legislation.  But even without these amendments, the American Health Care Act is a dramatic improvement over Obamacare. 

The bill ends job-killing individual and employer mandates.  It cuts $1 trillion dollars of Obamacare’s worst taxes, including the medical device tax, the health insurance tax, and the Medicare payroll tax. 

It blocks federal funds from Planned Parenthood, it reduces regulations so that individuals can buy plans they want and can afford.  And it reforms Medicaid by returning power to the states. 

Some have criticized this bill because it lacks certain important reforms that will bend the cost curve down such as association health plans, interstate competition, reforms to facilitate more competition and choice in the private health insurance marketplace and medical liability reform. 

These are important reforms and I support them.  In fact, I have introduced a medical liability reform bill that would deal with the doctor shortage, end junk lawsuits, and reduce costs.  But unfortunately, these reforms are not eligible for inclusion in the reconciliation bill under the rules of the Senate, but it’s important to note that this is just the first phase in a three-phase process to repeal and replace Obamacare. 

So, this bill is a crucial and necessary first step in a step-by-step process.  And in stark contrast to Obamacare, we are actually reading the bill and we invite the American people to do the same at:  

I hope all Americans will take this opportunity to learn more about this bill and offer their feedback.

Mr. Speaker, we tried to put Washington in charge of your healthcare.  Now it’s time to put patients, their doctors, and their families in charge.