Time for health care solutions that lower costs and empower patients

By U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx

For the past two years, my email inbox, mailbox and phone lines have been flooded with reports of cancelled health insurance plans, soaring premiums, increased deductibles and exasperated constituents trying to navigate the confusing Washington bureaucracy that is Obamacare.

Members of Congress have to buy their health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges along with millions of other Americans, and I have experienced many of the same frustrations, including the nightmare of navigating a confusing, unfinished website. Despite its central promise, the Affordable Care Act has proved to be anything but affordable for many North Carolinians, and the Supreme Court’s recent decision in King v. Burwell doesn’t change that fact.

The impact of this law is being felt far and wide, and it’s only getting worse. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of N.C. has requested a near doubling of the rate increase for individual customers under age 65 with coverage through the so-called Affordable Care Act for 2016.

House Republicans are continuing our efforts to minimize the damage caused by Obamacare. We’ve passed legislation that would permanently repeal Obamacare’s 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices, which has hindered innovation as well as restricted growth and job creation in an industry that has improved the quality of life of millions around the world.

We’ve voted to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was created under the president’s health care law and gives a panel of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats sweeping authority to slash Medicare payments to providers or eliminate payments for certain treatments and procedures altogether.

The House has passed legislation that would change Obamacare’s 30-hour definition of “full-time employment” and restore the traditional 40-hour workweek. From adjunct professors to hourly workers, I have heard from constituents across North Carolina’s 5th District who have one thing in common – their hours are being reduced. Obamacare has placed an undue burden on employers and their employees by undermining the 40-hour work week, which has long been the standard for full-time work.

We’ve voted to make it easier to hire veterans by exempting those who already have health insurance from being counted as full-time employees under the president’s health care law. No employer should be penalized for hiring a veteran and no veteran should be unemployed because of Obamacare.

However, the best approach to solving the multitude of problems resulting from Obamacare is to unite behind a complete repeal of the law and replace it with solutions that lower costs and empower patients to choose the care that’s right for them.

I recently signed on as a cosponsor of H.R. 2653, the American Health Care Reform Act. This bill would repeal Obamacare completely and allow a standard deduction for health insurance that treats individually purchased plans and employer sponsored plans the same, making sure that all Americans receive the same tax benefits for health care.

H.R. 2653 would return decisions about health care and insurance coverage to patients. It is people, not government, who can best determine the coverage and services that meet their needs.

A government takeover of health care is not what Americans asked for and certainly not what we can afford.

Virginia Foxx is the U.S. Representative for North Carolina’s 5th congressional district.


By U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx

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