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ICYMI – Chairman Brady Op-Ed in Washington Examiner: Putting patients back in control of healthcare

January 23, 2017

Putting patients back in control of healthcare
Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Washington Examiner
January 23, 2017

In 2010, President Obama and Democrats in Congress began an irresponsible experiment with Americans’ healthcare to try to prove a misguided hypothesis: that more government spending and control lowers costs and improves quality. Seven years later, it’s abundantly clear their hypothesis was wrong. With a new president and new Congress, we now have an opportunity to end this failed experiment and deliver Americans the 21st century healthcare system they deserve.

Known as Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, this experiment has hurt far more people than it has helped. Out-of-pocket costs are skyrocketing while health care choice, competition, and access are all diminishing rapidly as Obamacare’s health insurance marketplaces near collapse. This is what happens when a healthcare system is built around what Washington thinks is best instead of what patients and families want and need.

Every one of Obamacare’s failures has real consequences for real people and families. People like Lauren from my congressional district in Texas, whose monthly health insurance premiums have increased to more than $900 a month. Small business owners like Anthony in South Carolina, who now faces costs of more than $20,000 annually to provide health coverage for his six employees — costs large enough to put him out of business. And, it’s people like Kimberly in Ohio, a cancer patient who can no longer access the treatment she needs from doctors she knows and trusts.

With the election of President Trump, voters sent a clear message: enough is enough. They want Obamacare to be repealed, and they are calling for solutions that lower costs, expand choices, and put patients and families back in control of their own healthcare decisions. And they have entrusted Republicans to get it done. That’s why we have already started efforts to provide relief from the failing law and stabilize America’s collapsing health insurance market.

On Jan. 13, the House passed bicameral budget legislation, giving Congress the necessary tools to repeal Obamacare and clear the way for step-by-step reforms that offer Americans more choices, greater access, and higher-quality care — all at lower costs. With sole jurisdiction over taxes — including the more than 20 new taxes established under Obamacare — the Ways and Means Committee plays a critical role in that process.

Ways and Means Republicans are focused on providing immediate relief and peace of mind to all of the workers, families, and small businesses that have been forced to buy insurance they do not like and cannot afford. That means eliminating the harmful taxes and mandates that have driven up Americans’ healthcare costs and driven down access and quality. And, building off the solutions outlined in our “Better Way” health reform proposal, we will take action to enhance competition, empower states and local businesses, and encourage healthcare innovation — all of which are vital to a 21st century healthcare system that meets the needs of every American.

As the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare moves forward, it is critical that we not lose sight of the reason we are doing this in the first place. It is to help all those like Lauren, Anthony, and Kimberly who are hurting because of the law’s broken promises. And it’s to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare options that meet their needs.

With repeal already moving ahead in Congress, much-needed relief is on the way. Working together with the Trump administration and our colleagues in the Senate, House Republicans will deliver the personalized healthcare solutions Americans deserve.

Rep. Kevin Brady represents Texas’ 8th Congressional district and is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.