House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled several key changes to the American Health Care Act, also known as “Trumpcare,” the Republican plan to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Northwest Florida congressman Matt Gaetz announced Wednesday that he plans to vote in favor of the new bill.
Rep. Gaetz initially expressed reservations about the first draft of the Trumpcare bill.
“By allowing Medicaid expansion to continue unchecked, the bill was too similar to Obamacare. That’s not what the American people voted for,” Gaetz said. “We have now fixed the problem, and we’re ready to proceed with the conservative reform the American people want and need.”
In a statement, Gaetz said he convinced his colleagues on the House Budget Committee that changes to the bill were necessary. Gaetz said the changes included giving states the option to convert their Medicaid programs into block grants, allowing states to create work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults, stopping the “runaway expansion” of Medicaid, and reducing health care costs for adults aged 50 to 64. These changes have now been included in the Trumpcare bill in the form of a manager’s amendment, Gaetz said.
The revised bill will provide nearly a trillion dollars in tax relief for Americans by repealing many of Obamacare’s taxes, Gaetz said. The bill will also repeal Obamacare’s “individual mandate,” as well as the employer mandate, which Gaetz has said “throws a wet blanket over our economy, and stifles entrepreneurship and economic growth.”
The original Trumpcare bill received a cold reception among many healthcare groups, with the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, and AARP all coming out in opposition to the bill. Leading conservative groups, including FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and Club for Growth have also voiced opposition.
“Even though the original [bill] was a huge improvement over Obamacare, we needed to make a few key changes to it, so it would be even better for the American people,” Gaetz said. “Obamacare was essentially an expansion of the Medicaid program, so allowing Medicaid to expand for several more years didn’t make sense. Commonsense, conservative solutions — stopping the runaway expansion of Medicaid, and allowing states to implement work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults — help keep costs down for the American people.”
Gaetz said that the 2016 elections showed that people wanted “real, substantial reform.”
“With the new changes, the bill is even better for the American people, and doing right by the people is my highest priority,” Gaetz added.
The revised American Health Care Act will now move to the House Committee on Rules, where amendments — consistent with Congressman Gaetz’s work in the Budget Committee — will be considered before it goes to the House floor for a vote.