U.S. Representative Billy Long
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U.S. Representative Billy Long
May 17, 2019

New week, same political games

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, nothing is certain except death, taxes, keeping your doctor if you want and health insurance going down by $2,500 a year. Wait a minute ... perhaps I’m conflating quotes from two great Americans?

Obamacare has been failing the American people from day one. As premiums continue to rise and options dwindle, more and more people are going without health insurance. In 2017, premiums rose by 21 percent forcing 1.3 million unsubsidized individuals to go without health insurance. Sadly, things haven’t gotten any better. This year alone, a family of four on a benchmark plan on healthcare.gov is paying more than $1,500 a month for their premium. How do Democrats plan to solve this problem they created? By proposing a bill that does nothing to fix the problem.

Last week, House Democrats passed H.R. 986, Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act. The funny thing is this bill has nothing to do with protecting pre-existing conditions. All this bill would do is reverse President Trump’s recent guidance, which explicitly states pre-existing conditions MUST be covered, on section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This guidance aims to lower health care costs, increase consumer choices and protect the most vulnerable of society by expanding state flexibility with waivers.  

Under Section 1332, states may apply to the Departments of Health and Human Services and Treasury for waivers that allow them to waive certain requirements of the ACA. When a state is approved to do so, it must then implement its own health insurance system that is able to cover as many individuals in the state as the previous one, all while maintaining protections for people with pre-existing conditions. A state must also offer health insurance plans that are just as affordable and comprehensive as plans under the ACA prior to the waivers. 

Under President Obama, section 1332 of the ACA was restrictive and limited states’ ability to effectively confront the many challenges the ACA brought to their state while also making it much harder for states’ waivers to be approved. President Trump’s new guidance allows states to move away from a one-size-fits-all health care system and create one that betters serves their state. 

Since October, eight states have approved state innovation waivers that actually work. As premiums in other states continue to rise, these eight states have seen their premiums drop on average nearly 20 percent. 

But like everything else, Democrats refuse to acknowledge these facts. Instead, they continue to propose bills that do nothing to actually fix Obamacare. Democrats would rather rob states of their ability to create a health care system that works and H.R. 986 is a great example of this. As Democrats continue to play political games, my Republican colleagues and I will continue to push out bills that actually fix problems while continuing to protect people with pre-existing conditions. 

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page athttps://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report,” by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form

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