New approach is needed to fix GovCare

SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE ECONOMY, advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996 http://www.s-a-f-e.org/

January 16, 2017

Dear Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Representative Blunt Rochester:

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare, or as we prefer to call it GovCare) has resulted in soaring healthcare premiums/deductibles and shrinking healthcare provider networks. Throwing more taxpayer money at the healthcare system or creating more government requirements is not the answer; the system needs to be greatly simplified with a shift of power from government bureaucrats to patients and their doctors. Sale of healthcare insurance (HCI) policies across state lines – abolition of the individual and employer mandates - abolition of detailed prescription of approved healthcare coverage - healthcare savings accounts – etc.

The Republican plan to “repeal and replace” GovCare could only be partially accomplished via the reconciliation process, and we fear that additional changes (basically the “replace” part) may get derailed by partisan gridlock. Certainly, the positions that your party has been staking out don’t seem very helpful, and Republicans may be forced to “nuke” the filibuster in the Senate in order to break the logjam.

Our detailed analysis is posted on line: Secure America’s Future Economy, Blog page,
1/16/17 entry. Many viewpoints are cited in the entry, including a letter (and photo) from Senator Carper.

Please advise if you have questions or we can help further.

Sincerely,
SAFE

**********RESPONSES**********

1/25/17, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester: Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I appreciate hearing your thoughts and input on this important subject.

The passage of the ACA nearly seven years ago made numerous positive changes to our nation's healthcare system. Millions of Americans have better, more affordable health care coverage than they had before, while the number of uninsured is down to historic lows. This has helped take the burden off the backs of taxpayers and stabilize sky rocketing insurance rates.

As with the passage of any law, we have also seen unintended consequences. Healthcare costs have almost doubled in the last decade, and they continue to be one of the biggest threats to our nation's financial future. I also share your concern about the difficulties facing many families and businesses as a result of the high cost of healthcare.

With that being said, I have serious concerns about repealing the Affordable Care Act. An estimated 30 million Americans would lose their health coverage, and Delawareans could face limited access to needed healthcare services. I am also concerned about the economic impact of repeal, which could hurt both families and healthcare organizations like local hospitals.

I acknowledge that this law is not perfect, and I support common sense changes and improvements to the areas of the ACA that need fixing. I am willing to work with the new Administration, my colleagues in Congress, and officials in Delaware to make sure the Affordable Care Act is working as it is intended. It won't be easy, but I am steadfast in my commitment to improve and strengthen our nation's healthcare system.  

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me on this important matter.  I hope that you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you and your family, as your input helps me to better serve you as your Representative in Congress. If you would like to stay informed of the latest issues coming out of Washington, you can visit bluntrochester.house.gov/forms/emailsignup/ to sign up for my e-newsletter.

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Senator Chris Coons, 2/2/17 – Thank you for contacting me about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me. 
 
While the ACA is not perfect, I believe the law is helping Delaware by expanding access to affordable health insurance, improving the quality of care, and reducing many consumers’ costs. Before the ACA, our nation’s health care system simply wasn’t working. However, because of the ACA, the people of Delaware no longer can be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, have to worry about caps on annual or lifetime benefits, or pay a co-pay or deductible to receive preventive services. Women are no longer charged higher premiums simply because of their gender, young adults can stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26, and those without employer coverage who do not qualify for public programs can purchase affordable health insurance on the marketplace. Nearly 20 million Americans nationwide are no longer uninsured, and more than 38,000 Delawareans have gained health coverage through private marketplace plans, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. We should not delay or repeal these benefits and consumer protections that are valuable to so many Americans.
 
An outright repeal of the ACA threatens the important, life-saving progress we have made over the past seven years and is tantamount to Congressional malpractice. Earlier this month, I joined a number of my Democratic colleagues from across the country in a letter to Republican Senate leadership expressing our concerns with their plans to use a fast-track budget process to jam through a repeal of the ACA. On January 12, 2017, I also voted against the Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution that would trigger this process. A simple repeal of the ACA would kick an estimated 30 million people, including more than 50,000 Delawareans, off of their health insurance, doubling the rate of uninsured and endangering Delawareans’ access to needed health care services. Even for those who don’t lose their insurance, those hundreds of thousands of Delawareans who get their health insurance through their employer risk losing important consumer protections under an outright repeal such as the prohibition on lifetime limits or the requirement that insurers offer free preventive care services. Additionally, the burden on state and local governments, which could lose nearly $50 billion in tax revenue, is a significant concern. 
 
Although the ACA was passed before I became your U.S. Senator, I have long supported commonsense changes and improvements to the ACA to ensure affordability and access for more Americans and have been ready and willing to work with anyone to improve the existing law. For example, I have heard from many Delaware small business owners who want to offer health insurance to their workers and families, but are struggling to afford it. The ACA created a tax credit to help small businesses provide health insurance, but, unfortunately, too many employers are ineligible for the credit or discouraged by the complexity of its requirements. Last Congress, I was proud to introduce the Small Business Tax Credit Accessibility Act (S. 379) to expand and simplify the tax credit so that more small businesses can take advantage of it and provide health insurance for employees and their families. I have also looked for ways to make sure that there is more competition in the marketplace, especially in small states like Delaware, and have pursued commonsense regulatory reforms and cost containment efforts to further slow the growth in health care costs. 
 
Please know I remain committed to making this law work better for Delaware families and businesses and will continue to try to find Republican partners who are willing to work together to fix parts of the bill that need fixing. However, any proposed changes must protect the parts of law that have helped Delawareans access critically needed health care. I will not support an immediate repeal of the ACA without a plan to replace it and retain these critical protections.
 
Again, thank you for contacting me. It is an honor to represent Delaware in the United States Senate, and I hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues that matter to you. My website, www.coons.senate.gov, can provide additional details about my work in the Senate, including legislation and state projects.

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