The Affordable Care Act has confused an already complex and wasteful healthcare system. Americans need more choices and a competitive insurance marketplace, not mandates. We all want a system where people are treated fairly and given the support they need to remain healthy. We want those who become ill to receive the best care possible and care that is affordable.
In 2016, Arizona had eight health insurers offering plans on the Obamacare exchanges. By the end of the year, four insurers had entirely exited the market, leaving many uninsured or unable to afford coverage altogether. The fact is Obamacare devastated Arizona’s insurance market instead of allowing for increased competition, innovation, and access.
Imposing mandates on individuals and businesses while taxing procedures, payment plans to doctors, and everyday medical devices is not a recipe for improved healthcare access, affordability or quality. Improving healthcare for every American starts by improving access to information so consumers can truly understand and compare the cost of care.
We in Congress must do everything we can to help working families obtain better access to affordable health insurance. To do this, we must foster a system that makes the price of health care honest and transparent while supporting marketplace competition to control costs. We need to focus on reforms that improve affordability and provide flexibility, not impose mandates that result in lost jobs and threaten the economic security of working Americans.
The resources below highlight a few of my concerns with the Affordable Care Act and the current state of the health insurance market:
- Kaiser Family Foundation | 2017 Premium Changes and Insurer Participation in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces
…the largest increases in the unsubsidized second-lowest silver plan were Phoenix, AZ (up 145% from $207 to $507 per month for a 40-year-old non-smoker), Birmingham, AL (up 71% from $288 to $492) and Oklahoma City, OK (up 67% from $295 to $493).
- USA TODAY | Obamacare Hurts My Small Business
My firm, which has fewer than 20 employees, recently received our renewal package for next year's health insurance plan. It read: "Your current coverage is no longer being offered, but we've provided you with a great alternative" -- an estimated 48% increase in premiums. That translates into approximately $1,676 in added costs per year for every individual covered on our plan ($6,704 for a family of four). That's approximately $44,000 in added annual costs that could otherwise be used to hire a college graduate.
The Future of Care:
Health care is personal, but it’s easy for decision makers in Washington, D.C. to forget that, even during the best-intentioned discussion. I am eager to continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to tackle issues such as drug costs, chronic disease management, telehealth, rural access, surprise billing, health innovation, and financing revolutionary treatments. The way I see it, the future for medical care in our great nation is brighter when we work together.
There are several crucial conversations being had in Washington D.C. around the future of health care in the United States. The problem, it seems, is that few of them strike the balance between optimism stemming from increasingly efficacious medicine and innovative technology, with the burdensome structure of the current system. Ultimately, my goal is to make meaningful changes to how we approach and deliver care in order to equip future generations with the means to live healthy.
Below are a handful of resources that have especially caught my attention:
“Artificial intelligence’s (AI) transformative power is reverberating across many industries, but in one—healthcare—its impact promises to be truly life-changing. From hospital care to clinical research, drug development and insurance, AI applications are revolutionizing how the health sector works to reduce spending and improve patient outcomes.
“The total public and private sector investment in healthcare AI is stunning: All told, it is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021, according to some estimates. Even more staggering, Accenture predicts that the top AI applications may result in annual savings of $150 billion by 2026.”
Kaiser Family Foundation - How do health expenditures vary across the population?
“In a given year, a small portion of the population is responsible for a very large percentage of total health spending. We tend to focus on averages when discussing health spending, but individuals’ health status – and thus their need to access and utilize health services – varies from year to year and over the course of their lifetimes. In fact, very few people have spending around the average.”
More on Health Care
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman David Schweikert joined House colleagues on a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration urging them to speed up the evaluation and approval process for a COVID-19 vaccine, and to prepare for a more rapid deployment to the public. The letter was signed by 35 Members of Congress.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman David Schweikert’s telehealth provision from the CONNECT for Health Act to waive existing telehealth restrictions was included in the Coronavirus National Emergency Declaration. This provision will give the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the authority to ensure health care services are available through telehealth.
CORONAVIRUS PRESENTS LEGISLATIVE OPPORTUNITY —The Alliance for Connected Care, the The American Telemedicine Association, the eHealth Initiative, and the Partnership for Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Robotics in Healthcare are all throwing their weight behind an effort to allow HHS Sec. Alex Azar to waive telehealth restrictions during national emergencies.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman David Schweikert helped introduce the bipartisan GENE Therapy Payment Act with Reps. Kurt Schrader (OR-05) Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-01), Jason Crow (CO-06), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-07), and Mike Kelly (PA-16), This legislation will help those with life-threatening illnesses who can benefit from gene-therapy treatments.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Schweikert and Congresswoman Moore introduced HR 5816, the Continuing Care for Patients Act of 2020, legislation to ensure patients can continue to receive treatment if contractual agreements between their providers and health insurance change and their provider is no longer in network.
WASHINGTON, DC (October 30, 2019): Health Innovation Alliance (HIA) today endorsed the bipartisan, bicameral CONNECT for Health Act, introduced by Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-06), Co-Chair of the Congressional Telehealth Caucus, along with fellow Co-Chairs Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL), and Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06), announced the introduction of the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act. This bipartisan and bicameral package will help expand access to important telehealth services that can lower health costs and make health care more efficient for patients.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman David Schweikert introduced two amendments during the House Ways and Means Committee markup of healthcare legislation seeking to create alternative federal payment models to finance curative drugs and to advance medication adherence.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman David Schweikert joined Arizona colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter from members of the Arizona Congressional Delegation urging Congressional leaders to permanently repeal the medical device tax. Schweikert was joined on the letter by Senator Martha McSally, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, and Representatives Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), and Greg Stanton (AZ-09).