With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to rule next week on King v. Burwell, two Florida Republicans promoted alternatives to President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law this week.
King v. Burwell is a challenge to Obama’s law, specifically focused on whether health insurance tax credits can be run at both the federal and state levels. The plaintiffs insist only state exchanges can promote the tax credits.
US. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., introduced the “Free Market Health-care Restoration and Coverage Act of 2015” on Thursday which repeals Obama’s heath-care law while keeping subsidies until 2017.
"With the King v. Burwell ruling quickly approaching, I introduced legislation that would allow my constituents and Americans across the country to keep their premiums while House Republicans work on a real and permanent solution," Diaz-Balart said. “I strongly believe that our constituents should not suffer the negative consequences of the poor decisions made by congressional Democrats and President Obama. This bill will extend current subsidies until 2017, keeping premiums at the current rate. It also repeals Obamacare in May 2017, allowing the next president to work in a bipartisan fashion with Congress. I am committed to continue working with my colleagues in order to get this done. Americans deserve access to the care they need, from the doctors they choose, at a price they can afford."
U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., showcased his support for another option to Obamacare: the “Empowering Patients First Act” from U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. Besides repealing Obama’s law, Price’s bill contains a universal tax credit for Americans who opt for health insurance based on age while expanding Medicaid options. Price has pushed his bill in recent years, bringing it back again in May.
“Under Obamacare, the American people are paying more for health care and getting less – less access, less quality, and fewer choices,” Price insisted when he brought out the bill last month. “The status quo and its defenders are empowering Washington and harming patients and doctors. With real, patient-centered reforms we can build a more innovative and responsive health care system – one that empowers patients and ensures they and their doctor have the freedom to make health care decisions without bureaucratic interference or influence.
“The Empowering Patients First Act puts patients, families and doctors in charge by focusing on the principles of affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation, choices and responsiveness,” Price added. “Those principles form the foundation of the solutions in HR 2300 -– solutions including individual health pools and expanded health savings accounts, tax credits for the purchase of coverage and lawsuit abuse reforms to reduce the costly practice of defensive medicine. The solutions in the Empowering Patients First Act will get Washington out of the way while protecting and strengthening the doctor-patient relationship.”
Yoho was one of more than 75 co-sponsors backing Price’s bill. Other co-sponsors from Florida include Republican U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, Jeff Miller and Dan Webster.
“I acknowledge a good number of Americans have received health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act,” Yoho said on Thursday. “However, Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all approach to changing our nation’s health-care system has been a disaster and is unsustainable. I firmly believe we can do better.
“Five years in, individuals across America are feeling the law’s adverse effects, misguided policies, and burdensome mandates,” Yoho added. “As someone who has seen his health-care premiums more than double, the law failed to deliver on its famous promise of, ‘if you like your health plan, you can keep it.’
“The Empowering Patients First Act is a common-sense approach to transitioning Americans away from a less access, less quality, and fewer choices system, to a patient centered health-care system,” Yoho said in conclusion. “Patients and their doctors should be in charge of important health-care decisions, not the federal government. Obamacare is legislative malpractice at its finest and should be replaced. After living with its broken promises, it is time to replace it with a law that provides choices to quality health-care, is affordable, responsive, and accessible to all Americans.”
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