Beyond any measure, the Affordable Care Act, better known as "Obamacare," has failed in its promises to the American people. As it stands, Obamacare is in a death spiral and collapsing under its own weight of broken assurances, imperiling tens of thousands of Floridians with ever-increasing premiums and fewer and fewer choices for their medical needs.
Here are the undisputed facts about Obamacare:
* It was sold to the American people based on broken promises.
* More than one-third of all U.S. counties have only one insurance provider.
* In Florida, premiums are expected to increase by 19 percent this year.
* 49 out of 67 Florida counties are estimated to have only one insurance provider this year.
* 300,000 Floridians had their plans canceled under Obamacare.
* The Congressional Budget Office incorrectly estimated 22 million people would flock to Obamacare.
Faced with these failures, doing nothing and watching more and more Americans be forced to pay higher premiums with unaffordable deductibles was not an option. The only responsible path forward was to repeal and replace the failures and broken promises of Obamacare.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that I voted for and passed in the House does just that:
* It establishes a health care system built upon free-market and consumer-driven principles that will revive competition, increasing quality, drive down costs, and expand coverage.
* Congressional members and staff are not exempt from the AHCA. The McSally Amendment made sure this legislation applies equally to everyone.
* Those with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage. I have a pre-existing condition with my congenital heart defect and I understand how important it is to maintain coverage for others.
* Low-income Americans are not losing coverage and will still receive coverage under Medicaid.
* The AHCA modernizes and strengthens Medicaid with the biggest entitlement reform in a generation.
* It honors the enhanced state match that beneficiaries have been receiving.
* Restores $79 billion to hospitals who provide a high proportion of care to the most vulnerable patients, including certain Medicaid and Medicare recipients.
* Establishes the Patient and State Stability Fund that provides $130 billion to help states lower the cost of care for patients in need.
* Sets aside $100 billion for states to help low-income Americans access affordable health care.
* No changes were made to the benefits Medicare provides in its current form, and the elderly will not lose or face more expensive coverage under the AHCA.
* The AHCA substantially lowers premiums and eliminates the individual and employer mandates that are crushing small businesses and families.
* It provides tax credits and health savings accounts to help all Americans purchase affordable coverage, and ensures there is a seamless transition so no one has the rug pulled out from under them.
* Defunds Planned Parenthood by blocking more than $500 million of taxpayer money, and maintains the Hyde Amendment. This measure is supported by the National Right to Life Committee and the Susan B. Anthony List.
The AHCA is great a step in the right direction. After seven long years, we are finally putting patients first. We will continue working with the Trump administration to further stabilize the health insurance market, increase choices, and lower costs for all Americans and families. We will fulfill our promises to those who sent us to Washington to help and protect them. I urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass this important legislation so we can provide relief to Americans across Florida and the entire nation.
First elected to Congress in 2010, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., is part of the congressional leadership as senior deputy majority whip.
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