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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Bilirakis Gives Remarks During Debate on the American Health Care Act

March 8, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – During a key House committee debate on the American Health Care Act, the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) highlighted constituents who faced problems due to the ACA.

Please see below for Bilirakis’ remarks.

“A husband and wife from Land O’Lakes, Florida, told me that under the ACA, their deductible has spiked, their premium has doubled, and they’re getting less coverage.

“In fact, their plan forces his wife to pay the full price for her medication without the benefit of a co-pay because she can’t meet her plan’s high deductible. Before the ACA, she was able to use a co-pay, and medication and doctor’s visits were affordable.

“Across Florida, premiums have increased substantially. 73% of counties in Florida only have one provider under the ACA. And in Pasco County, my district, folks will only have two options for health care by 2018. That’s not acceptable.

“The American Health Care Act is the answer to lower costs, expand choices, and give patients more control. This bill reflects the feedback I’ve heard from my constituents over the past eight years.

“With our bill, we will put in place a health care system that works for Florida and the nation.”

Please click here to read the full text, and here to read a section-by-section summary.

Background:

  • Last summer, House Republicans released the Better Way agenda, our vision for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act which served as the blueprint for this legislation.
  • On January 13, 2017, the House passed a budget resolution, the first step to the repeal and replace plan. It outlined instructions for the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee to draft legislation.

Bill Highlights:

  • Safety net funding for Florida and other states that did not expand Medicaid, meaning additional funding will be available for health care providers in Florida to reimburse for uncompensated care.
  • Implements a Patient and State Stability Fund to help low-income patients afford health care and repair state markets damaged by the ACA.
  • Strengthens Medicaid for the future by refocusing limited resources to the patients most in need. The bill proposes a per-capita allotment to determine a fair level of funding for states while ensuring a viable financial future for the program.
  • Maintains popular ACA provisions such as:
    • Protecting those with pre-existing conditions from being denied access to care by insurance companies.
    • Eliminating lifetime caps on health care.
    • Allowing young adults to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26.
    • Filling in the doughnut hole, otherwise known as the coverage gap, in Medicare Part D.
    • Prohibiting rescission, the practice of insurance companies dropping people for being sick.

Next Steps:

  • Once the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees pass their respective repeal and replacement bills, the Budget Committee will compile them into one reconciliation package. The reconciliation package allows legislation to be passed with a simple majority in the Senate and quickly signed into law.
  • That package will then go before the Rules Committee to determine the rules for debate under which the bill will be considered on the House floor. This is a typical part of the legislative process.
  • Following passage through the Rules Committee, the reconciliation package will be voted on by the full U.S. House. This vote is expected by the end of March.