Ruppersberger Issues Statement on Failure of “Skinny Repeal” of Obamacare in U.S. Senate
(Washington, DC) – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate failed to pass a limited repeal of the Affordable Care Act early this morning:
“While I am relieved the so-called “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act failed in the U.S. Senate last night, I share the frustration many Americans feel at the status quo. The ACA was not designed to reduce premium increases, but dramatically slow their rate of growth. Clearly, we have not achieved this to the extent we hoped. As an Obamacare enrollee, I know first-hand that improvements must be made. And we must make them together as Democrats and Republicans.
Several bipartisan proposals already exist that would both reduce costs and preserve popular ACA measures like the minimum benefits requirements and protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. We need to:
1.Offer a public option alongside private plans to promote competition and ensure access to a quality, affordable health plan.
2. Provide insurers with the certainty of permanent cost-sharing reductions. The mixed signals we are currently sending insurers are destabilizing the market. We must guarantee them the funding they need to reduce copayments and deductibles.
3. Address soaring prescription drug prices. The federal government must be able to negotiate drug prices like the VA.
4. Incorporate mental health and drug addiction treatment into primary care settings, which will reduce overall costs.
5. Increase financial assistance for those who enroll in the ACA by making more Americans eligible for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions when they purchase insurance on the individual market.
6. Offer greater support to small businesses affected by the employer mandate.
I didn’t support the process under which Obamacare ultimately passed seven years ago and said so publicly. We should have passed healthcare reform section-by-section and explained every step to the American public as we went. The procedural maneuvering we’ve witnessed recently has been equally disappointing. As Senator John McCain said earlier this week, we must return to regular order. I hope to see the committees that oversee health policy hold hearings and draft a bill with input from both sides. I hope to see amendments, open debate and compromise. And I hope to see a bipartisan solution that works for more Americans.”