Republicans in the House of Representatives took a critical first step towards keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare by passing the American Health Care Act (AHCA). While I’ve been committed to making this happen since day one, it took a lot of negotiating and hard work by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to get it over the finish line in the House.
Obamacare is crumbling all around us as premiums continue to skyrocket, deductibles continue to increase, and coverage continues to implode. As if we needed further proof that the status quo is unsustainable, Aetna recently announced they will join several health insurance providers in fully leaving the Obamacare marketplace. When more news about the failures of Obamacare comes to the forefront, it serves as a reminder that the time to give Americans relief from this disastrous law is now.
I’m proud that we’ve begun the process of replacing Obamacare with a patient-centered health care system that will offer Americans more choices and lower costs. For seven years I have promised the people of Alabama’s Second District that I would repeal and replace this failed law, and I was finally able to deliver on that promise in a meaningful way with my vote in favor of the AHCA.
Passing the AHCA is the first of a three-step plan by Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration to put an end to Obamacare. Our bill dismantles the taxes in Obamacare that have harmed our nation’s job creators, increased costs for patients, and given Americans fewer options. It also eliminates both the individual and employer mandate penalties that forced millions of Americans into health care plans that they do not want and cannot afford, among many other provisions.
Upon enactment of the AHCA, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price will begin using his authority to dismantle the Obamacare rules and regulations that drive up patient costs and force insurers out of the market. Finally, Congress will take up pieces of legislation that conservatives have advocated for over the years to further bring down costs through proposals such as allowing insurance competition across state lines and health care portability.
Before AHCA came before the House earlier this month, I sat in the Oval Office with President Trump and assured him that I would help him get this legislation through. House passage of AHCA was just one step, but it was an important one, and it would not have been possible without the direct involvement of President Trump and Vice President Pence.
The AHCA now awaits further action by the Senate, and I’m hopeful they will continue our progress. Americans need and deserve relief from Obamacare now and, while it will take some work, I’m confident the Senate can get this done so the president can sign this conservative solution into law. It is refreshing and encouraging to now be working with a unified Republican majority that is committed to delivering results and keeping our promises to the American people.
After so many years of gridlock in Washington, Republicans in the House, the Senate, and the White House are working to get things done – together.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband Riley and their two children.