Arkansans in the First District are accustomed to having control over their health care decisions. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, our healthcare system was upended, imperiling many Americans’ quality coverage and access to preferred doctors. Many have been fortunate to secure coverage which was not previously attainable. At the same time, consumers, doctors, hospitals, and others in the health care industry have endured frustrating changes that have done little to increase access to quality, affordable, health care. For rural Americans like us, this is possibly the most critical component to our overall wellness. During the first session of the 115th Congress, I will have the opportunity to vote on legislation to reform our struggling health care system to ensure it is working to improve the lives of rural Arkansans. Rural folks experience a way of life different from our urban and suburban counterparts, and that should be reflected in our health policy.
I favor patient-centered health care that allows individuals the freedom to make important health related decisions. The Affordable Care Act takes control away from patients, has led to higher health care costs, and restricts accessibility to care. While the uninsured rate has decreased since the passage of the ACA, premiums have done just the opposite. Deductibles have skyrocketed to the point where people can't afford to visit the doctor. Americans are being forced to choose between purchasing expensive, faulty health care plans or paying a steep penalty. On top of that, the ACA has wrecked our economy, slowing already sluggish growth and adding nearly a trillion dollars to our massive national debt.
Americans should have the control to choose health insurance plans that fit their needs, and the needs of their families. Expanding and simplifying Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts will provide greater flexibility to save and pay for medical expenses. Insurance companies should be able to sell their plans across state lines, which garners competition and lower premiums.
Now, with the support of President Trump, I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to finally repeal and replace the ACA. The solutions will not happen overnight, but I can guarantee that my colleagues and I will work until we craft a replacement plan that is beneficial for every American. We will finally be able to implement sensible, conservative, market based reforms to drive down the cost of healthcare in this country.