Chairman Sessions Opening Statement
American Health Care Act
Remarks as written
Good Morning and welcome to the Rules Committee. Today the committee will consider H.R. 1628 – the American Health Care Act of 2017.
On March 20, 2010, the Rules Committee met in this very room and passed Senate crafted language in a House shell bill that would ultimately devastate our nation’s healthcare system.
The American people were promised by the President of the United States, who was so supportive of the bill that it eventually took on his name - that his party would lower their premiums by $2,500 per family, per year. He promised the American people that if they liked their doctor, they could keep their doctor. He promised the American people that if they liked their health plan, they could keep their health plan. He promised the American people that no family making less than $250,000 a year would see any form of tax increase when he became President. He promised the American people that Obamacare would mean more choice, more competition, and lower costs for millions of Americans.
Seven years later, almost to the day, it is abundantly clear that Obamacare has failed the American people.
As to the promises – premiums have increased by an average of 25% this year alone on the Obamacare exchanges – killing the pocketbooks of American families, and a far cry from the $2,500 reduction they were promised.
At least 4.7 million Americans have been kicked off their health care plans and had their coverage cancelled due to Obamacare, despite the promise that if you liked your plan you could keep your plan and if you liked your doctor you could keep your doctor.
Obamacare contained $1 trillion in new taxes, mostly falling on families and job creators. Additionally, 18 of the 23 Obamacare Co-Ops have failed, costing taxpayers nearly $1.9 billion and forcing patients to find new insurance.
Obamacare has forced employers to cut jobs and lay off employees and is on track to reduce American work hours – at the equivalent of 2 million jobs, by 2025.
Simply put, Obamacare is collapsing. Options and choices are disappearing for consumers and an anti-competitive government run market has been created that is harming American patients and families across this country. Nearly 1/3 of U.S. counties currently have only 1 insurer offering exchange plans and things are getting worse. That’s not competition, that’s a government run monopoly.
Doctors want a change, patients want a change, and the American people demanded a change.
H.R. 1628 – the American Health Care Act of 2017 eliminates Washington’s one-size-fits-all health care plans. It dismantles the Obamcare taxes, eliminates the individual and employer mandates, prohibits health insurers from denying coverage and helps young adults access health insurance while stabilizing and restoring a Free Marketplace for all Americans.
Most importantly, this legislation empowers individuals and families to make their own health care decisions and it helps low- and middle-income families access affordable, quality health care by providing a monthly tax benefit that restores parity to an unequal marketplace for these families.
Americans deserve a competitive insurance marketplace that provides quality care at an affordable cost. For that reason, I’d like to welcome the architects of this legislation Chairman Walden, Chairman Brady, and Chairman Black to our first panel. Thank you all for being here today to complete our promise to the American people. I’d also like to welcome to our first panel their counterparts on the Committees of jurisdiction, Ranking Member Yarmuth, Ranking Member Pallone, and Ranking Member Neal. Without objection, anything you have in writing will be entered in the record and we look forward to your testimony. Before I defer, I’d like to note that Ranking Member Slaughter is sick and we all know that she would otherwise be here with us this morning.
Caroline Boothe, Communications Director