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House passes American Health Care Act

25,800 of our neighbors in southeast and south central Missouri are in danger of losing healthcare coverage through no fault of their own. The individual healthcare exchanges set up in Missouri under President Obama’s signature healthcare law are on the verge of collapse. In 26 of the 30 counties in our Congressional District, there is only one healthcare provider still participating in the Obamacare exchanges and even the New York Times is reporting that the one provider may soon decide to leave. As expected, President Obama’s government run healthcare experiment has failed. Prices are soaring, services are being cut and people are losing coverage.

The House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, the first step in repealing and replacing the mess in the healthcare markets created by President Obama’s signature healthcare law. It will dismantle government run healthcare, repeal the presence of a bureaucrat between you and your doctor and relieve Missourians of taxes on things like ultrasounds, insulin pumps and the individual and employer penalties. In addition, we repealed Obamacare tax provisions which had been used to subsidize abortions, representing the most significant and expansive pro-life policy advanced since the ban on partial birth abortions.

Last year, the Obama Administration told people on the exchanges to expect their premium costs to double in 2017, and they did. There are only two insurance companies participating in the Obamacare exchanges in Connecticut and both have requested to raise premiums as high as 52%. In addition to skyrocketing premiums, people are losing options for healthcare coverage. In Iowa, their last statewide insurer is leaving the marketplace, which means that people in 94 of Iowa’s 99 counties will have zero choices.

In the last few months I hosted half a dozen public healthcare roundtables throughout south central and southeast Missouri where I solicited feedback about what you liked about the current healthcare system in this country and also what you wanted to see changed. Many brought forward various ideas such as allowing small businesses to band together to purchase coverage for their employees or breaking up health insurance company monopolies. In the first several months this year, we have passed policies in the U.S. House of Representatives to accomplish both those things. In addition, folks shared that they wanted to be able to keep children on their parents’ coverage until they were 26 and also wanted to make sure things like pre-existing conditions were still covered for those not getting their health insurance through their employers. The legislation advanced last week accomplishes both those things while stabilizing the overall healthcare market which should lower everyone’s costs. We advanced a solution which repeals President Obama’s failed healthcare experiment, will cut healthcare premiums by double digits and continues coverage for those with preexisting conditions.

The House of Representatives’ vote to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law was the first step to ending unfair penalties on families who are being forced to buy something they don’t want. But more work remains to be done. We will continue in our steps to rip the Obamacare law out by the roots while providing real healthcare solutions for families, including bringing back things I am fighting for like true price transparency. I look forward to the U.S. House and Senate coming together to put an Obamacare repeal on President Trump’s desk for his signature. I look forward to working with Secretary Tom Price at Health & Human Services to remove thousands of pages of Obamacare regulations driving up healthcare prices for everyone and I look forward to continuing to advance legislation which will provide additional relief from skyrocketing out of pocket healthcare costs for American families.



U.S. Representative Jason Smith, R-8th District, files a weekly column each week the legislature is in session.

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