U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) released the following statement:
“The Affordable Care Act has failed its promises to lower costs, to let people keep their doctor and to let people keep their plans. As a result, Martin and St. Lucie counties have only one insurer on the individual exchange. Premiums and deductibles have become beyond unaffordable for people throughout our community, and I’ve heard from countless families just like Debbie’s from Jensen Beach who saw their premiums double and their deductible balloon to more than $12,000 under the Affordable Care Act.
“The American Health Care Act delivers relief for families by ensuring that you get to choose your coverage and the federal government can’t tax you based on what you think is best for your family. The bill returns control of health care from Washington back to you and restores access to quality, affordable options that are tailored to your individual needs. The bill does all this while also increasing Medicaid funding for Florida by $400 to $500 million dollars that will go to help the most at-risk people in our community get potentially life-saving coverage and treatment.
“Like millions of Americans, I have a pre-existing condition. As a result of my time in the military, I lost both of my legs and sustained other internal injuries that continue to impact my health care to this day. I care about this issue. I believe it is my responsibility to be the staunchest advocate for people out there that also have pre-existing conditions, and I will be. This bill mandates that people cannot be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions and allocates almost $140 billion in additional funding that will subsidize coverage for people with pre-existing conditions to ensure their costs are low, while driving down costs for everybody else as well. Those claiming otherwise are the same people who said ‘if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor’ and they’re putting partisan politics ahead of the people in our community.”
In conjunction with passage of the American Health Care Act, Congress passed a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Mast, H.R. 2192, to prevent Members of Congress from exempting themselves from the American Health Care Act. The bill enjoyed broad bipartisan support and was passed unanimously.
The Affordable Care Act has caused premiums to skyrocket across the nation, up about 25 percent on average this year. Enormous increases have left many families paying for insurance that they cannot afford to use. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the American Health Care Act will lower premiums over time by an average of 10% and potentially more as further reforms are made to lower premiums.
The American Health Care Act explicitly maintains protections for pre-existing conditions in three ways:
- Guaranteed issue of coverage, guaranteed renewability of coverage and the prohibition on insurance companies denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions are all maintained. States cannot opt-out of these requirements.
- The AHCA as amended specifically clarifies that its provisions cannot be construed as allowing insurers to limit coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. All of these protections will remain the law.
- The bill sets aside $138 billion to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions who might slip through the cracks still have access to affordable coverage. In comparison, the Affordable Care Act provided only $5 billion.
The American Health Care Act provides a five-year, $10 billion pool of Medicaid funding for non-expansion states, proportional to the population. Florida is estimated to receive an additional $450 million in Medicaid funding from the American Health Care Act as compared to current law.
This bill would repeal the penalties associated with the individual mandate, ensuring that individuals are not forced by the government to purchase a product that they do not want. The Congressional Budget Office report states that “Most of that increase [in uninsured individuals] would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate…because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties.” The government should not be able to force somebody to purchase something that they do not want.