Bob Goodlatte replies about Obamacare

Dear Mr. Gavaler:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the high cost of health care and your thoughts regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.  It is valuable for me to hear what parts of Obamacare have been beneficial to you, and I will be sure to share that information with my colleagues who sit on committees with jurisdiction over health care reform. To be clear, the 115th Congress has not yet voted to repeal Obamacare, but instead has begun a legislative process to craft a new health care policy that is fair and improves access to affordable health care for all Americans.

I know Americans are frustrated by rising health care costs, and I share in this frustration.  I have talked with folks all across the 6th District, those under employer-sponsored health insurance plans, those providing employer-sponsored insurance, those self-insured, and even those uninsured. Their message remains the same: health care is becoming unaffordable.  In just 30 years, from 1980 to 2014, health expenditures in the United States saw a tenfold increase, rising from $256 billion to $3.03 trillion.  We can all agree that something must be done.

Unaffordable premiums, deductibles through the roof, losing a doctor you’ve had for years, being dropped from the coverage you need – these are just some of the ways Obamacare isn’t working for Virginians. The calls, letters, and emails I’ve received about what families, seniors, and businesses have experienced only emphasize this fact. Since the implementation of this law, Americans have seen their insurance premiums increase and their access to care decrease.  No amount of patches or delays can resuscitate Obamacare from its failures. That is exactly why Congress is getting to work on the process to repeal and replace this law.

Before Congress can implement a new health care system that truly works for the American people, Congress must review and repeal law that is not working today. To achieve this first step, the House and Senate passed a resolution to initiate a procedure called reconciliation, the means by which committees can draft legislation to evaluate and repeal portions of Obamacare within their jurisdiction. In the House, once legislation is approved by the relevant committees, it will be put together into one, straightforward bill. Once the House and Senate pass the bill resulting from reconciliation, it would then go to the President for his signature. Reconciliation is simply a step in the process of reforming our health care system, and Congress has not yet voted on a final repeal of Obamacare. Rest assured, an important part of this process is ensuring that there is a stable transition period between repealing Obamacare and the new health care solution. While I want the families who are hurting under Obamacare to feel relief as quickly as possible, it’s important that we have a transition period.

Many are asking what a new health care system will look like. Crafting a new system that works for Americans is of the utmost importance and something Congress is taking very seriously. House Republicans have shared numerous ideas over the past several years that would create a health care system focused on patients, not the government. The “Better Way” agenda, developed last fall, is our starting point for a replacement system that promotes more choices and lower costs. This plan notably includes proposals to protect access to coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, allows dependents under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ plans, and removes lifetime limits on coverage. Committees are already hard at work on plans and taking input from lawmakers and constituents from across the country. You may read more about the “Better Way” agenda by visiting

As the United States welcomes a new Administration, now is the time to reverse the flawed policies of Obamacare and implement real, patient-centered health care reforms. In the coming months, I look forward to advancing the health care reforms the American people have demanded. Never before has Congress had a better opportunity to act and clear a path for health care reforms that put patients first, not big government mandates.

Again, thank you for the benefit of your comments. Please feel free to contact me whenever I may be of assistance.

With kind regards.


Bob Goodlatte
Member of Congress

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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