February 17 – A congressman from Illinois and one from Texas say getting rid of the individual health insurance mandate and other regulations would spur more competition and lower rates.
U.S. Representative Rodney Davis, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, and a medical doctor hosted a tele-townhall with over 7,500 constituents this week where they spoke about repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Russia, and other national issues.
Davis says with skyrocketing premiums under the ACA, it’s clear the individual mandate is not working.
“We have 31 million people in this country who are still uninsured or can’t afford to use the coverage they have,” Davis said.
The individual mandate requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Burgess said the mandate removes the requirement for insurers to sell plans to consumers that they actually want, which has led to a restriction in the types of insurance policies that are available. The Congressmen says repealing the mandate and changing the rules will mean more competition and lower premiums.
Another reason the ACA needs to be replaced and repealed, Davis says, is because it will eventually put a squeeze on Illinois’ Medicaid funding from the feds, negatively affecting the most vulnerable.
“For the first few years the federal government picked up 100 percent of the tab, but by 2020, the federal share is going to drop to 90 percent, which means if we do nothing, the State of Illinois will have to come up with an additional $300 million,” he said. “Let’s make sure that the disabled population could never be affected by any changes we make to the ACA because they’re the ones that Medicaid exists for.”
Davis says the GOP plan would get rid of the individual mandate while keeping popular provisions such as ensuring coverage for pre-existing conditions.