April 28, 2017

Rep. Jody Hice Is Now in Favor of Trumpcare

Jody Hice web.jpeg

Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

Athens congressman Jody Hice was one of the uber-conservative House members who helped scuttle President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan's attempt to undo much of Obamacare back in March.

The American Health Care Act would have thrown more than 20 million people off their policies by sunsetting Medicaid expansion and cutting subsidies for older low-income people.

Moderate Republicans said it went too far, while the House Freedom Caucus, of which Hice is a member, wanted an even more draconian plan. But the tea party has come around to the latest version of the Republican health care bill, although it remains unclear whether it will also win moderate support.

Hice said in a written statement:

Without question, no one is more committed to repealing Obamacare than I am. I’ve fought since day one to roll back Obamacare’s government takeover of our health care system. After a full evaluation, countless meetings and negotiations, input from my constituents, and with the addition of the MacArthur Amendment, I will be supporting the American Health Care Act.

 I commend President Trump, Vice President Pence, Speaker Ryan, and my colleagues for keeping the lines of communication open, which has ultimately led to a better bill. Due to our collaborative work, the AHCA now immediately eliminates Obamacare taxes that would have otherwise remained, creates a work requirement for adult able-bodied recipients of Medicaid, includes the Palmer Amendment to ensure affordable coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, and drives down premiums and costs for all Americans across the board.

The MacArthur Amendment empowers states to seek and obtain waivers from Obamacare’s premium-spiking mandates and takes steps to rid the health care law of its most costly provisions. 

While the battle for a full repeal is not over, implementing conservative provisions that keep the legislative process focused on free-market, patient-centered health care, lower costs for consumers, and provide greater access to care for all Americans is a victory. I will continue to search for solutions that offer more relief for hardworking American families, and we will work with our Senate colleagues to further improve the AHCA and deliver on our promises.

The MacArthur Amendment, named for moderate "Tuesday Group" leader Rep. Tom MacArthur, would weaken the Affordable Care Act's protections for people with pre-existing conditions by allowing insurance companies to charge more based on your medical background.

The Palmer Amendment, meanwhile, would create a federal high-risk pool, but experts say those pools won't work unless Congress ponies up far more than the $15 billion Republicans are proposing.

Requiring Medicaid recipients to work is at best pointless, because almost all recipients are already working, looking for work, or can't work because of health problems or because they're caring for someone else, such as a child or a sick parent. At worst, people who can't work can be thrown off the rolls unfairly.

The latest version of Trumpcare—endorsed by the Freedom Caucus—also includes a provision allowing states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act's mandates that insurance companies must cover things like hospital stays and prescriptions, meaning that in states like Georgia, companies would once again be free to sell you policies that may be cheaper but, you would come to find out when you get sick, hardly cover anything.

Oh, and there's still that massive tax cut for the rich.