Ensuring that every American has access to affordable healthcare must be our number-one priority. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made a great deal of progress on not only insuring more people, but also on making certain that everyone’s health insurance plans met certain minimum quality requirements. Even so, people in this country still die or go bankrupt due to lack of affordable care. It is a tremendous injustice that, in this land of plenty, we still allow people to suffer so much from preventable problems. We also need to address rising premium costs, excessive prescription drug prices, and barren counties that will have no plans offered on the individual market.
Ultimately our country needs to transition to a single-payer, Medicare for All health system similar to what has worked so well in other countries around the world. Only through such a system can we ensure that every American has access to affordable health coverage, and that’s what I’ll fight for when I’m in Washington. But we also need to recognize that building such a system is a tremendously complicated process, and we need to make the transition very carefully. So while we remain focused on single-payer as our North Star, we need to take immediate steps to perfect the ACA-based system we already have in place. Here are some measures I support to make the ACA even better:
Allow people who are 55 or older to opt in to Medicare, thus reducing premiums for everyone else (since healthcare costs rise as people get older)
Offer a government-sponsored “public option” health plan that will function as a safety net insurance plan available to every American
Allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, allow for the importing of drugs from Canada, and install annual caps on out-of-pocket prescription drug expenditures
Strengthen individual markets by bringing back risk corridor and reinsurance provisions that were part of the original ACA before being stripped by Republicans, and remove the uncertainty created by the Trump administration’s refusal to commit to reimbursing insurance companies
While I hope to vote for a bill that fixes the ACA’s problems, I will emphatically fight against any legislation that would cause people to lose their health coverage, as this summer’s Republican ACA-repeal bills promised to do. Representative Peter Roskam voted not once, but three times for Trumpcare, a bill that would have done nothing but make our problems worse. The analysis of the bill Roskam voted for showed that it would result in a staggering 24 million people losing health coverage, including more than 30,000 in the 6th District. The bill also would have raised overall health costs and done nothing to curb rising premiums. It was a bad, bad bill. The only defense Roskam offered for his votes was that “the current system is unsustainable.” We all agree the ACA needs tweaks, but this bill would have unequivocally made things worse. The bill passed the House by only two votes, one of which was Roskam’s. We need a representative who will stand up for our most vulnerable citizens and not Paul Ryan’s whims.
Paid for and Authorized by Ryan Huffman for Congress