Roe: Repealing the ACA will take time

Published 8:42 pm Thursday, January 12, 2017


As Congress takes the first steps toward repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act U.S. Rep Phil Roe, M.D., says legislators are looking at ways to make the transition as harmless as possible for aided by subsidies.
Roe said he and others in Congress have heard concerns from citizens who are afraid repealing the law will put insurance even more out of their price range and they will not be able to afford premiums without the subsidies provided under the ACA, commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”
“We are focusing on how to make it work for low income families,” Roe said on Thursday. “How do we deal with the people who are getting a subsidy? How we do that will probably be an advanceable tax credit.”
Many Americans will be able to return to the plans they had prior to the start of ACA, but for those who will not be able to, Roe said Congress wants to have a plan in place to assist them.
“I have an Obamacare plan and I can hardly wait to go off it,” Roe said. “The people who are currently getting help who don’t have other options and don’t have another place to go, we are going to provide an off ramp for them”
The whole process of repealing the ACA and replacing it with another healthcare legislative package will not occur overnight, Roe said.
“It’s going to be a one to two year process in my opinion,” he said.
Congress is already beginning the process by passing legislation that will allow them to repeal portions of the controversial law with the use of “reconciliation,” which is means Congress has of dismantling a law by removing or altering portions of its funding structure.
Roe said Congress can repeal parts of the ACA through reconciliation but not all of it.
“We can’t repeal the mandate to have insurance, but we can repeal the penalty for not having it,” Roe said.
Members of Congress can also remove the mandated standards each policy must adhere to through this process, which Roe said will open up more insurance plans for purchase by citizens and will ease some of the burden on the insurance companies to meet those demands for policies.
In the meantime, as the process begins, Roe said he also wanted to address concerns of citizens who are frightened they will loose the insurance they currently have signed up for.
“What you’re hearing right now that millions of people are going to have their insurance ripped away from them, that is absolutely not the case,” Roe said. “That will not happen. You can’t change this year’s insurance because the plans have already been contracted.”
Roe hopes the early phase changes can help the insurance market level out until a new healthcare law can be enacted so residents aren’t faced with outrageous increases again.
“This is not going to be affordable for anyone. They’ve already pushed the deductibles and out of pocket limits as far as they can,” Roe said. “They went up too much. It’s not sustainable.”
By removing the mandates on policy coverage, Roe said the hope of Congress is to increase competition among insurance providers to help lower costs.
“If we continue to have government interference the prices will not go down,” Roe said. “We want to encourage competition. If you have competition then prices go down. What has happened is companies have been choked out of the market.”
Roe recently reintroduced his American Healthcare Reform Act as a replacement for the ACA and Republican leadership is working to advance the healthcare package.

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