In the aftermath of a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to make changes to federal healthcare law, Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr says he expects the debate over specifics of the bill to continue but feels the changes on which Congress is working will provide a better system with a higher quality of care.
Recently, the U.S. House passed the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) with a vote of 217 to 213. The bill would eliminate tax penalties for people who go without health insurance. It would also roll back state-by-state expansions of Medicaid and in place of government-subsidized insurance policies offered exclusively on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplaces, the bill would offer tax credits of $2,000 to $4,000 a year, depending on age.
In an exclusive interview with The Bottom Line, Barr said the bill makes significant changes to Medicaid in order to make the system more sustainable and give states more flexibility over those dollars to ensure the entitlement system helps those who need it most.
Many provisions of the ACA remain intact, Barr says, including letting individuals stay on their parents’ insurance plan until the age of 26 and ensuring that pre-existing conditions are covered—with some changes to how that is handled.
The recent House vote was the second attempt by Republicans to repeal the ACA, after the first version failed to pass the House. Barr said he was comfortable voting yes on the AHCA because his constituents continue to voice their issues with the current law and he feels it is a broken system that can be fixed.
Since the vote on the House bill, members of the U.S. Senate have said they will be making changes to the House version of the bill, if not overhauling it completely.
Barr said there is no doubt the Senate will make changes to the bill and feels that both legislative bodies should then vote to go to conference committee to figure out the best way forward.