Have ya Hurd? After the snowstorm cancelled their flights, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) is on a #bipartisanroadtrip with Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) from Texas to Washington, D.C., discussing everything from music to the American Health Care Act.
They weren’t the only ones talking health care. The conversation about our plan to repeal and replace Obamacare continued this week on TV, radio, and social media ahead of tomorrow’s Budget Committee markup. Here are the highlights:
“We don’t want to have the American people suffer anymore. I come from a state where there was a 63% increase in premiums last year. We have two thirds of our counties that only have one provider. That’s not choice; that’s a monopoly. And we actually have places in East Tennessee where there are no providers left…for the exchanges. So let me just say that my constituents are suffering and they’re saying ‘help us out.’ [Obamacare] is a failed plan and we’re going to rescue them and put something more patient-centered in place that will give them an opportunity to have what they want at a cost they can afford.”
“I think if this bill does not pass, the chances of repealing and replacing Obamacare diminishes significantly, and that’s a cardinal commitment that we made to the American people. There’s nothing wrong with us moving a bill that the Senate doesn’t like, but their answer should be to move one of their own and then we’ll negotiate the differences out. …this is a conservative bill…we can change it during the course as it moves through, that’s what the legislative process is for. We’re anxious to have the suggestions that the Senate wants to make.”
“…Minnesotans in particular have been facing skyrocketing premiums for several years, soaring deductibles. Insurers have been withdrawing from markets, we saw a lot of folks in the individual market not having the ability to access insurance coverage when Blue Cross Blue Shield withdrew from over 100,000 people. And folks have not been able to see their own doctor. The plan that we’re moving forward is to provide more portability, tax credits for those that aren’t able to access other insurance means…and move away from that one-size-fits-all mandate from Washington with more flexibility.”
Click here to listen to his full interview.
“[Our plan] gives everybody access to affordable health care. There is a difference between people having access and being forced to buy coverage. If you make the assumption like my Democratic colleagues do that the government should provide the health care, then you can make the argument that what we are doing is not going to accomplish what the President said. What the President said is that everyone would have access to quality, affordable health care and this promise is not being broken. …where people who support [Obamacare] are thinking it is breaking that promise is we — the government — are not providing a policy. That is not what America has been about it — it’s about choice. …The direction we are going will be better.”
“Speaker Ryan [in October 2015] said we’re going to be for stuff, we’re not just going to be against stuff, and he tasks all of us going back to the basic backbenchers on the committees and…in the general House of Representatives: ‘We need your best ideas. Bring them forward.’ We did that over a year’s time, we put together the Better Way agenda. …I will get to vote for everything again in the Rules Committee, so I’m anxious to listen to the ideas that people are going to bring forward.”
“…it’s a three step process. First is this budget reconciliation, which takes out the financial underpinnings of Obamacare, but Obamacare is having grave problems all throughout the country. Some places more so than others. Next, after reconciliation is accomplished, regulation has to change at the Department of Health and Human Services — [Secretary] Tom Price has already started doing that. Lastly, we’re going to negotiate with Democrats…to enact statutory changes that’ll be necessary to fix the insurance system. …as President Clinton said last year, he called Obamacare a ‘crazy system’ which is penalizing working people and Middle Class people all across this country.”
“The CBO score is based only on phase one. We have two more phases to go, and there will be substantial replacement done in phases two and three. …what we’ve got to do is what’s best for health care. If you look at the CBO score, you’ll see all the positives in there. That it’s going to decrease premiums by 10 percent, that we’re going to decrease the budget deficit by $337 billion, that we’re going to decrease taxes by $800 billion…the first and most substantial entitlement reform that we’ve had in decades — that’s going to save us $880 billion. All of those are positives.”
“…it’s important to remember this is phase one of the process. Due to procedural Senate rules, we cannot include every reform we’d like in this bill. But rest assured, we will work to implement important changes like allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines and medical liability reform through administrative changes by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and additional legislation. As we proceed through a transparent legislative process, I look forward to hearing from you and working with a unified Republican government to repair America’s health care system. After seven years of Obamacare, House Republicans are poised to deliver patient-centered, market-driven solutions.
Click here to read his op-ed in its entirety