ANDERSON – Indiana's GOP representatives are supporting the U.S. House Republican plan to replace the nation's health care law.
The Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, was signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 with most major provisions phased in by 2014. Since its passage, Republicans running for national office have sought to repeal and replace the legislation.
The House Republican plan was unveiled Monday, but it retains health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and allows children up to the age of 26 to remain on a parent’s policy. It will reduce funding to the states for Medicaid expenditures.
Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District, serves on the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee that started considering the American Healthcare Act on Wednesday.
“Today’s markup is the beginning of an open and transparent process that will repeal Obamacare and rebuild our health care system so that Americans’ health care coverage works better for them,” Brooks said in a statement following the committee meeting. “Today, 45 percent of people paying a penalty for not buying insurance or who have requested an exemption under the Obamacare individual mandate are under 35 years old.
“The mandate is bad policy, and it doesn't work,” she said. “I’ve been hearing this from my constituents for years. Young, healthy people simply aren't buying insurance coverage, which is driving up costs and premiums for everyone who does. Our plan encourages people of all ages to enroll in a plan that is right for them and incentivizes staying covered, making that coverage more affordable for everyone.”
Obamacare is broken, Brooks said.
“The individual market is collapsing under its own weight, and more insurers are refusing to participate in state exchanges leaving people without options and facing difficult decisions about the kind of health care coverage they can afford for themselves and their families," she said.
Though acknowledging that some Americans have benefited from Obamacare, Brooks said more Americans have been failed by the legislation and are demanding relief.
“The markup will begin the process of repealing this failed policy and rebuilding a healthcare system that is more accessible and affordable for Hoosiers,” she said. “This bill is a good first step to restore stability in our health care marketplace and to once again put people back in charge of their health care decisions.”
Rep. Luke Messer, R-6th District, echoed Brooks in stating that the Affordable Care Act has failed Indiana residents.
“Health care costs sky rocketed, plans got worse and people have less coverage and less choice today than ever before,” he said in a press release. “We promised Americans we would repeal this disastrous law and replace it with a system that actually lowers cost, expands choice and puts people back in charge of their care.
“President Trump signaled that he is all in to help us pass this plan for the American people,” Messer said. “After years of promises, now is the time to get this done.”
Messer said premiums in the Indiana individual market have gone up by almost 70 percent since the Affordable Care Act was implemented, according to the Indiana Department of Insurance. He said premiums are expected to spike 20 percent for Indiana families this year.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.