Bob Goodlatte replies about health care

Dear Mr. Gavaler:

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on health care reform and the American Health Care Act (AHCA).  It is valuable for me to hear how Congress can better reform our health care system, and I will be sure to share that information with my colleagues who sit on committees with jurisdiction over health care reform.

Seven years ago, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, became law. With it came unaffordable premiums, higher deductibles, and a lack of choice and access to insurance for far too many folks in the Sixth District of Virginia and across the country. In April of this year, Aetna announced that it will exit Virginia’s Obamacare insurance marketplace, leaving an estimated 27 counties with only a single insurer to pick from in 2018. It’s easy to see why this mess of big-government mandates and red tape has not provided the health care solutions so many families need.

This is exactly why I supported the American Health Care Act. At its most basic, the AHCA would take steps to ensure health care remains affordable and accessible. Under the AHCA, individuals who do not have access to health insurance through their employer or a program like Medicaid or Medicare would receive an age and income-adjusted tax credit that is both advanceable, and refundable. This credit can be used to choose state-approved health insurance coverage, as well as unsubsidized COBRA coverage.  The bill strengthens consumer-driven health care choices by increasing maximum contributions to tax-advantaged Health Savings Accounts by nearly 100 percent, and repeals a number of Obamacare taxes, including a tax on the medical devices many Americans rely on for daily care.

Throughout the evolution of this proposal, members of our community have raised many thoughtful concerns regarding the coverage of essential health benefits. Any patient protections created by the Affordable Care Act will continue under the AHCA.

Insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage, rescinding coverage, or excluding benefits due to a patient’s pre-existing condition. The AHCA would only allow insurance companies to consider health status when assessing premiums if that person has not maintained continuous coverage. In addition, the AHCA includes $138 billion to assist states in establishing high-risk pools, lower out-of-pockets costs for patients, ensure coverage for special conditions such as maternity care, and for other risk-sharing measures. The AHCA will also continue allowing dependents up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans and prohibits lifetime limits on coverage. More information regarding provisions included in the AHCA can be found on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s website at: https://energycommerce.house.gov/healthcarecentral.

The status quo cannot continue. We know that our nation can do better. I firmly believe that the American Health Care Act is a better way forward. As the Senate begins consideration of this bill, I urge them to keep the process moving. Passing the AHCA is a major step in repealing Obamacare and ensuring Americans have access to affordable health care. As long as Obamacare continues to fail, I will continue to work in the House to maintain my commitment to the people of the Sixth District to repeal Obamacare and support patient-centered health care reform. Obamacare must not remain the law of the land.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this important issue. As consideration of health care reforms continue, I will be keeping your thoughts in mind. Please feel free to contact me whenever I may be of assistance to you and your family.

With kind regards.

Sincerely,

Bob Goodlatte
Member of Congress

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Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University where he teaches creative writing, contemporary fiction, and comics. He has published two novels, Pretend I'm Not Here (HarperCollins 2002) and School For Tricksters (Southern Methodist University 2011), and two nonfictions, On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa University 2015) and Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury forthcoming 2017).

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