The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has failed in its promises to the American people. From the start of this process, I have stated that the responsible path forward includes keeping what works and fixing what doesn’t. The ACA as it stands now will collapse under its own weight if nothing is done, imperiling millions of Americans through higher premiums and fewer choices. These are the facts:
- Currently one third of US counties have only one insurer.
- Premiums rose an average of 25 percent this year for those on the exchanges.
- Deductibles will average more than $6,000 this year for those in the lowest-priced ACA plans.
- 4.7 million Americans were kicked off their plans by the ACA.
- The ACA raised taxes by $1 trillion, including new payroll taxes for employers, business investments, and taxes on over-the-counter drugs and medical device manufacturers.
- 18 out of 23 ACA co-ops have failed, including Health Republic in New York State, costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
- 20 million Americans are without health insurance under the ACA.
Acknowledging the ACA’s failures, the people’s representatives were faced with a choice: do nothing and watch millions of our citizens continue to be forced to buy insurance they cannot afford, or work together to improve a broken system. Unfortunately, Democrats offered not a single alternative. They simply obstructed any changes to the ACA. I believe the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as amended addresses the concerns I have heard from residents, businesses, providers and insurers.
The AHCA will continue to protect Essential Health Benefits (EHB) and those with pre-existing conditions. Children up to 26 years old can continue to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans. In addition, New York insurance law requires health insurance plans to include Essential Health Benefits and also includes provisions for guaranteed issue of health insurance. This remains unchanged under the AHCA.
Approximately 7 percent of the insured nationwide are in the individual market. Essential Health Benefits only cover those in the individual and small group markets under current ACA law. Those who receive health insurance from employers with over 50 employees have never been affected by ACA provisions relating to Essential Health Benefits. This too is unchanged under the AHCA. The limited waiver provision would only affect those in the individual market and would not affect New Yorkers. That’s because New York State law already contains these consumer protections and, as such, our state would not be able to seek this waiver in any event.
The AHCA contains a provision I authored to eliminate the ability of New York State as of 2020 to impose Medicaid costs on county property taxpayers. For a typical homeowner or commercial property owner residing in the 19th District, Medicaid costs represent over 40 percent of their county property tax burden. New York’s Medicaid spending dwarfs that of most other states. For instance, New York spends more than Texas and Florida combined, even though these states have more than double our population. This provision will bring over $224 million in much-needed property tax relief to our district and finally require Albany to stop imposing these costs on property taxpayers.
In the coming days, I’ll have additional details on the healthcare plan for your review.
John J. Faso
Member of Congress
19th District, New York