The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Tenth Amendment Action Director Chip Roy issued the following statement on amendments to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) released last night. The amendments would repeal the essential health benefits mandate of Obamacare, and replace it with a requirement that states set their own standards for essential benefits.
“This command from the federal government to states raises serious Tenth Amendment concerns. Additionally, there is no guidance to the states or fallback provisions should Texas, or any other state refuse to comply with the command,” said Roy. “Beyond the constitutional concerns, this amendment doesn’t actually fix the problems created by Obamacare.
“If you only repeal essential health benefits and leave in place other onerous Obamacare regulations, you create an environment that punishes the sick. Insurers would likely offer slimmer coverage options to reduce the number of sick people on their rolls—meaning more comprehensive coverage would be more difficult to obtain.
“This change potentially violates the Constitution, encourages insurers to discriminate against the sick, and creates such uncertainty that it may cause even more insurers to pull out of the insurance market—leaving an environment worse than Obamacare.
“What we are seeing in these amendments are problems created by a rushed process. Congress is racing to meet arbitrary deadlines. They should slow down and start from a full repeal of Obamacare—including all, not just some, of the regulations driving up premiums.
"As a reminder, the legislation as it currently stands would retain the majority of cost-increasing regulations, leaves Medicaid massively expanded to the able-bodied, and leaves an even larger, expanded subsidy in place. This is neither repeal nor a good ‘replace.’ This rushed legislation seems to maintain verification concerns and pins its success on future administrative and legislative action that is both uncertain and unlikely to be possible.
“Obamacare should be repealed. But it isn’t a box-checking exercise. It is to ensure access to high quality, lower cost healthcare for all. The American people deserve the freedom to get the health care of their choosing. And that will only happen with full repeal and respecting the states and free markets to clean up the mess that has been created by the federal government.
“Those opposing the legislation in the House are upholding their pledge to fully repeal it and give the people those options. And whatever happens with the vote today, the American people deserve and will continue to demand full repeal.”