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 – 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).
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman David Schweikert (AZ-06) visited Vitalant, formerly known as United Blood Services, headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona for a tour of their facility to learn more about the blood donation and storage process, along with the importance of blood donations. During the tour, Congressman Schweikert met Adelyn, an Arizonan who just received her 55th blood transfusion at three years old to help battle Diamond Blackfan Anemia. Following the visit, Congressman Schweikert released the following statement:
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Schweikert (AZ-06) and Congressman Daniel Webster (FL-11) introduced H.R. 2789 to amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a health insurance Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program. After re-introduction of the bill, Congressman Schweikert and Webster released the following statement: