Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young today shared the following statement after voting in favor of the House-passed American Health Care Act, legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act:
“The reality we face today is clear – the Affordable Care Act is built on a crumbling foundation and is in a dire state of disrepair. Inaction is not an option; something must be done today to address the soaring rates of premiums, skyrocketing deductibles and the elimination of market competition across the nation. Alaskans and Americans have demanded choices, not mandates, and have resoundingly called for freedom from this one-size-fits-all nightmare that has ignored the needs of so many hardworking families and small businesses. For these many reasons, I am committed to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
“As we all know, repeal and replace – under the budget reconciliation process – cannot include every legislative fix needed to address the downward spiral of the Affordable Care Act or address all of Alaska’s unique needs. This multi-step process requires future work and consideration by Congress and the Administration to further address the many inadequacies in our nation’s healthcare system. I have been committed to this process and have worked in good faith to consider, study and negotiate the terms of legislation that supports the goals of healthcare reform as Alaskans have demanded for the last eight years.
“When this bill was originally brought before the House, I shared support for a number of policy provisions within the legislation, including the elimination of overreaching mandates, protections for pre-existing conditions and added flexibility for states. I also detailed a number of concerns for the AHCA, particularly as it applied to Alaska. In March, as amendments and changes were being proposed, I worked to secure assurances from House Leadership that Alaska’s unique healthcare challenges and needs would be addressed equitably – within the provisions of the AHCA and through future legislation. Without these assurances, I called for a pause in consideration in order to slow down the process and ensure Alaska’s many needs were reflected.
“As the House moved forward on healthcare reform, particularly as new language was proposed and further details were provided, I received a number of detailed commitments and assurances from House Leadership and the Administration that provisions in this legislation – including funding to address the high costs of care in rural and low density population states, further market stabilization through a nationwide reinsurance program, and specific funds for those with pre-existing conditions – would be used to specifically address Alaska’s needs. I worked throughout this process to develop these important changes and have further received commitments to address additional healthcare concerns specific to Alaska in future legislation.
“Although this bill is far from perfect, I have made the very serious decision to move this process forward and continue the much needed debate to tackle our nation’s many healthcare challenges. Given the choice of doing nothing or moving forward on efforts to roll back the many destructive policies of Obamacare, I chose the latter. Today’s vote represents the first of many steps in a long process to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. I fully expect a number of changes to be made as this legislation moves to the Senate and believe this is not the final language that will ultimately reach the President’s desk.”