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Tampa Bay area GOP Representatives weigh in on American Health Care Act

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted Monday that changes occurring with a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the implementation of the American Health Care Act would result in 14 million people losing coverage in just the first year.

The CBO continued by saying that it expects premiums to come back down afterward, but the number of people without coverage would continue to rise ― eventually reaching 52 million in 2026, or 24 million more than what the CBO expects if the Affordable Care Act remains in place.

Gus Bilirakis press folks directed us to his speech on the House floor last week:

“In recent weeks, I held three town hall meetings and a roundtable discussion about health care in my district. Hundreds of constituents attended, and altogether I spent more than ten hours listening to folks. The best ideas come from the people, and I feel it is my duty as a representative to hear my constituents’ input.

“The American Health Care Act reflects what I’ve heard from patients, families, doctors, and many others over the past eight years. Our bill will lower costs, increase choices, and give patients greater control of their health care. It strengthens Medicaid, and helps middle-income Americans gain access to affordable coverage.

“It also protects those with pre-existing conditions, and allows young adults to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26.

“Most importantly, this legislation is moving through Congress in an open and transparent manner.

“I invite the people of Florida’s 12th District to read and share the American Health Care Act at ‘ReadTheBill.GOP.'”

Dennis Ross issued out this statement Tuesday:

“Obamacare is in a death spiral with skyrocketing premiums, insurers dropping out left and right, burdensome tax increases, and failed subsidies. It has left Americans with less choice and less control over their own health care. Premiums in Florida alone will increase 19 percent this year. This is absurd and unacceptable. We must provide relief for the millions of Americans who were kicked off their health care plans and are suffering from astronomical health care costs due to the failure of Obamacare.
“The American Health Care Act will not only put patients and doctors back in charge of their health care decisions, but it will also allow for a stable transition so no one has the rug pulled from under them. This legislation will provide affordable coverage and choice for all, eliminate crushing taxes, regulations and individual and employer mandate penalties, allow children up to 26 years old to stay on their parents’ plans, and ensure individuals with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage.
“This is a beginning, not an end. Congress and the Trump Administration are open to suggestions and working with others, something President Obama and Democrats were unwilling to do when they rammed Obamacare through Congress. This legislation is only Phase One of three to further lower costs and increase choice for families. By repealing and replacing Obamacare, we are keeping our promise to the American people. We are putting patients first.”

Sarasota Rep. Vern Buchanan will be hosting a town hall meeting this Saturday, where undoubtedly the American Health Care Act will be the subject of intense discussion.

“This is an important first step toward restoring choice and affordability to health care for all Americans,” Buchanan said. “This bill replaces a failing government-run program that forces people to buy insurance with a system based on choice, free markets and competition.”

A spokesperson for Buchanan says that he believes that the legislation will protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, allow children to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 and eliminate lifetime caps on coverage.

And what about CD 11 Rep. Daniel Webster, who now represents parts of Hernando and Citrus counties? A spokesperson directed us to a newsletter Webster issued Monday.

“One thing is certain, the Affordable Care Act has been everything but affordable and is collapsing across the country, raising costs for patients and forcing insurers out of the marketplace, which leaves patients and families with nowhere to go.”

“This week, House leadership released their proposal for repealing and replacing Obamacare.”

This proposal, the “American Health Care Act,” is the first of three phases to provide 21st- century health care reform. The other stages include administrative/regulatory changes from Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, as well as additional legislative reforms passed as separate bills, including selling insurance across state lines.

More information about the American Healthcare Act is available at www.readthebill.gop.

Additionally, Rep. Mark Sanford (SC) and Sen. Rand Paul (KY) have introduced their own proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare.  You can read more about their proposal here.

“While I am strongly committed to repealing the failed Affordable Care Act and adopting real health care reform,” Webster said. “I have concerns with both proposals. For one, I am very concerned about the impact proposals will have on the demand for Medicaid beds in Florida nursing homes. This is critical to the access some of our senior population has to our hospitals and nursing homes. I also believe the final plan must provide the care we need, at a price we can afford, from the doctor we choose.

“These bills will continue to be the subject of much discussion and debate. I anticipate changes will be made before a bill comes up for a final vote in the House. It is my desire that the final proposal will, restore Medicaid to the original intent of the program — providing health care services to low income children, their caretaker relatives, the blind, and individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the following protections should be included in any final proposal.

“Additionally, the following protections should be included in any final proposal:

— Protect patients with pre-existing conditions: Ensures you will never be denied health care coverage regardless of their health status.

— Protect coverage for young people: Allows dependents up to age 26 stay on their parents’ plan

— Prohibits insurers from turning away patients when you renew your plan simply because you may be sick.”

 

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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