Washington D.C. – Today, David Balat, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Healthcare Initiative, gave invited testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform.

The following are excerpts from Balat’s testimony:

I firmly believe that we all want affordability and accessibility in healthcare, but we simply have different ideas about how to get there.

Healthcare is an American issue, not a political one. It is personal, not partisan.

My experience as a healthcare executive, hospital administrator, and patient advocate precedes my work in health policy. My journey coming from the healthcare industry into the realm of policy came about because lawmakers have consistently conflated and confused health insurance with health care. I am here to confirm to this body that coverage is not care.

As a hospital administrator, I’ve seen people use the emergency department for basic primary care. The ACA sought to reduce emergency department services, but the unintended consequence has been the opposite.

The administrative burden created by the ACA has limited choice for those who are most vulnerable.

In fact, a recent study demonstrated that there was no reduction in mortality for those that participated in the ACA – effectively demonstrating that enrollment in the ACA had the same impact as having other forms of coverage or no coverage at all.

Let me be clear, insurance coverage under the ACA that has driven up the cost of care has hurt patients with pre-existing conditions, not helped them.

As an advisor, I’ve been called to help families and patients navigate the complexity of hospital care. There is always a common thread in their frustration; they didn’t get to decide, they pay more, and they get less.

We need a system in which everyone has a choice, and the government role is limited to a safety net. Americans understand that the problem is the high cost of health care and what they want is to be empowered to make decisions for themselves and their own families and a sense of peace of mind.

We hear about the number of uninsured in this country – but not all of them are without care. I am among the statistic of the uninsured, but I would assert I am getting better health care as a patient. Because, to repeat my primary point, coverage is not care. I utilize direct primary care and medical cost-sharing for catastrophic coverage for myself and my family. These models – in addition to the many others that have been promoted by the Trump administration do not have exclusions for pre-existing conditions and are demonstrating a higher degree of accessibility and affordability.

The high cost of care in the country increased significantly during the time of the ACA. The high cost of care is the single biggest reason why healthcare has become less accessible. The high cost of care is what the American people care about. The high cost of care is the direct result of the federal government attempting to fix healthcare and failing. Choice and competition, not a one-size-fits-all plan, are what we need for something as local and personal as healthcare. We need a landscape of choices that are as diverse and personal as each of us.

To read Balat’s testimony in full, please visit: