WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) says he’s fully-on board with the new American Health Care Act, which was introduced on Monday by Republican leaders in Congress as an eventual replacement to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Proposal has also received the backing of President Donald Trump.
During a conference call with media on Tuesday, Reed said that he supports the plan because it includes several reforms and carry-overs from ACA that he feels are important in the context of repeal and replace.
“Things like the reforms on the preexisting conditions and allowing children to be carried on their parent’s policy up to the age of 26 – it’s clear in the proposed legislation that they will be moving forward,” Reed said. “We are going to repeal the excessive taxes that come with the Affordable Care Act and we are going to replace them with refundable tax credits that are available to lower income folks to allow them to purchase health insurance on the open market.”
Reed said the plan will also protect employer-sponsored healthcare, which he said has been a rich tradition in America and which millions have relied on to ensure they get healthcare. Reed said that residents who also rely on Medicaid for medical coverage won’t have it pulled out from underneath them.
According to Reed, there are about 70,000 residents in the 23rd Congressional District who currently rely on Medicaid, which is about 10 percent of his total constituency.
Reed also said that once finalized and put in place, the new plan will cover more residents in his 23rd congressional district, than compared to ACA.
“It will be exactly the same as what existing conditions are, because we’re transitioning from the Affordable Care Act, and 2020 appears to be the date that we are transitioning to,” Reed said. “So to answer that immediately, the answer would be ‘none,’ but as we go forward, what we’re hoping is that we are going to have more people having access to health insurance that is going down in cost, and therefore allowing people having access to healthcare at a much greater degree than what we’re hearing across the country.”
TIMELINE FOR FINALIZING, APPROVING, AND IMPLEMENTING REPLACEMENT PLAN
Reed said there will be a three-step process in putting the new plan in place and fully reforming the country’s healthcare system, with the introduction and passage of the replacement package being the first of the three phases.
“The replacement plan is the first legislative vehicle, and it allows the [plan] to go forward with just 51 votes in the Senate. The second phase is what Dr. Tom Price will be doing as our Secretary of Health [in ensuring the new plan is properly applied across the country]. And the Third Phase will be those long-term reforms, where it’s going to take 60 votes in the Senate in order to get to other issues of healthcare reform, particularly when it comes to the healthcare delivery world, where we can get these costs going in the right direction.”
Reed added that he is hopeful the replacement plan will be finalized by congress and signed by the president by the end of March or April.
“A reasonable time-line that I foresee, from my perspective, is this week dealing with the committee process in both Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means, which I sit on,” Reed said. “Tom Price is already moving his phase as Secretary of Health, and I’m some some proposed actions by him being unfolded and moving forward. And then bringing this legislation to the floor, I imagine we’ll see this come to a floor vote within the next two to four weeks, and that means the Senate will also be brought into the equation. So I anticipate that we would have a final package to the President, hopefully here, in the early Spring.”
The plan has raised concern among both Democratic and some Conservative lawmakers. Democrats fear it won’t protect lower-income Americans, who don’t make enough money to gain insurance coverage and would have to rely on limited funding from Medicaid.
“President Trump’s health care proposal would force middle class families and seniors to pay more money for less care and leave more people uninsured, all while giving huge tax breaks to insurance companies and the highest wage earners,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said in a statement on Tuesday. “It would cripple state budgets by cutting Medicaid funding and would give health insurance companies a special tax break for CEOs who make over half a million dollars. I will do everything I can to stop this assault on the health and economic security of middle class families and seniors.”
Conservatives feel the proposal doesn’t go far enough in taking government out of the healthcare process and have dubbed the proposed plan “Obomacare Light.”