Congressman Comer on Voting for American Health Care Act

May 5, 2017
Originally published on May 9, 2017 4:04 pm

U.S. Congressman James Comer says he is "proud to stand with President Trump" in supporting the Republican crafted healthcare bill that passed the House on Thursday. The American Health Care Act narrowly passed the House and heads to the Senate. 

The freshmen Republican represents Kentucky's first district.

Comer said in a statement he voted to repeal and replace The Affordable Care Act known as 'Obamacare' claiming that Americans are paying more for fewer options and less access to care. He said repealing Obamacare is "critically important for Kentucky" citing few insurance carriers and more than 30% on Medicaid. 

Kentucky's uninsured rate dropped from more than 20% to 7% after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act amounting to roughly 500,000 people, mostly through expanded Medicaid.

Comer has met some concern over the Republican healthcare measure at recent town halls and will likely face more questions in upcoming town halls this month. He has vowed to keep a pre-existing condition clause "with every last breath I have."

In a statement, Comer says there is misinformation about whether pre-existing conditions are covered in the AHCA - an issue that has divided Republicans on the measure. He says the bill will allow states to apply for a waiver to fund high risk polls thereby providing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

According to NPR, a last-minute addition to the bill provides $8 billion dollars over five years for states to set-up these pools, however critics say it's not enough money to guarantee coverage. The pools could in theory bring down the cost of insurance for healthy people, but drive up costs for the sick.

The bill now heads to the Senate where it may see changes and be sent back to the House. The Congressional Budget Office hasn't yet had a chance to analyze the amended bill to determine its potential wide-ranging impact. 

Congressman Comer's Full Statement:

“Today, I voted to repeal and replace Obamacare with a health care bill that ends Washington’s failed one-size-fits-all approach to health care, which has left Americans paying more every year for fewer options and with less access to care.

This bill, which President Trump supports, will make health insurance more affordable across the board, allow states to better manage their unsustainable Medicaid programs, and repeal job-killing taxes and regulations, while still protecting people with pre-existing conditions.

There is a lot of misinformation out there. Let me be clear, this bill prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition. They will also be banned from cancelling coverage based on a preexisting condition. Additionally, it will allow states to apply for a waiver to fund high risk pools, and give affordable coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Repealing Obamacare is critically important for Kentucky, where the individual market has collapsed, leaving only one insurance carrier in 31 of 35 counties in the First District, and where the unsustainable expanded Medicaid program now pays for more than thirty percent of our population. It is clear that Obamacare has been a disaster for our health care system and Kentucky, and I was proud to stand with President Trump in supporting this bill today.”

*This story was corrected to state $8 billion for high-risk pools, not $8 million.

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