Congressman Lee Zeldin voted yes on the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), which passed the House of Representatives on May 4. The bill would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
After this vote, Mr. Zeldin released the following statement:
“Over the past several years, I have heard from many constituents who have shared their thoughts and ideas on how to improve healthcare in America. Their perspectives span across the ideological spectrum and vary greatly. I sincerely appreciate each and every person who has taken the time to express their opinions on this very important topic.
Almost everyone agrees that our current system is deeply flawed. For example, just yesterday, Iowa’s last major insurer through the ACA, Medica, threatened to remove itself unless something is done to stabilize the markets. Imagine no option at all for an entire state? None! There are too many other examples of how this law is deeply flawed. We all agree healthcare must be improved and that doing nothing is not an option. We are the greatest country in the world and we can and must do better for all citizens.
One of my top priorities in Congress has been to improve healthcare in America. I have always supported the repeal and replace of Obamacare and a smooth transition to a better reality that will improve affordability, access, quality of care and options, while continuing to cover Americans with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parent’s policy.
The American Health Care Act provides relief from billions of dollars of crushing taxes and mandates enacted under the ACA. Additionally, the bill repeals the individual and employer mandates, taxes on prescription and over the counter medications, health insurance premiums and medical devices.
This bill would help Americans access healthcare in ways they previously could not, by increasing competition in the marketplace and offering plans that will be tailored to individual needs. The bill provides flexible options for coverage, such as increased access to health savings accounts, which would allow individuals to set aside pre-tax dollars to help cover health care costs. The bill also creates a Patient and State Stability Fund, endowed with billions of dollars, to increase access to necessary services and to help keep costs down. I am also strongly supportive of the Collins-Faso Amendment, also known as the Property Tax Reduction Act, the single greatest act of fiscal relief ever provided to the County of Suffolk and its taxpayers. Shifting the local share of Medicaid costs to the state, this amendment was included in the legislation that passed the House today. There are also many other very positive aspects of this bill.
There are so many outright lies attacking this legislation, like the social media campaign absurdly claiming that 310,000 NY-1 residents with pre-existing conditions would lose their health care under the AHCA. That’s not within a million degrees of accurate. The amount of outright lies about the AHCA that have been manufactured and echoed by individuals and entities have been insane. The bill protects people with pre-existing conditions, and gives states greater flexibility to lower premiums and stabilize the insurance market. The lies about this bill are being perpetuated by the same people who told us if you liked your plan, you could keep your plan, if you liked your doctor, you could keep your doctor, and that premiums under the ACA would decrease by $2,500 per family.
Passage of this bill is an important step in a multi pronged effort to improve health care in our country.
There is still much more work ahead to improve healthcare for all Americans in addition to the passage of this bill. The next steps of this process include administrative action to further ensure a smooth transition, as well as additional legislative action, which started with the passage of the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101) and the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act (H.R. 372), to allow the pooling of policies across state lines and reform current law to increase competition in the health insurance market. There are also other necessary reforms to healthcare that can’t be accomplished through the budget reconciliation process that still should get done: lowering drug costs for patients, providing additional flexibility in Medicaid for states to manage their own programs as effectively as possible, and medical legal reforms.
A smooth transition during this period is critical. I will continue to follow all developments on this process closely over the coming months.”