AHCA allows patients to be charge, not DC

American taxpayers pay far more than any other country in the world for health care, but are we getting what we pay for?

Skyrocketing premiums, lack of choices, insurers pulling out of the market, and cancelled plans are all symptoms of a deeper problem I have been pointing to for years — that one-size-fits-all mandates from Washington rarely succeed and are often not the right solution to our problems.

Obamacare promised a lot, but is woefully under-delivering for Americans.

The average Pennsylvanian’s insurance premium has increased by 53 percent this past year, on top of thousands of plans that have been cancelled.

I’ve heard from far too many small business owners who haven’t been able to create the jobs they want to because of the costly mandates, regulations, and taxes the “Affordable” Care Act placed on them.

Two-thirds of the marketplace in Pennsylvania only have one or two insurers to choose from, and one out of three counties in the United States have no choice at all as only one insurance provider will participate in the Obamacare exchange.

Soon some states and counties will have no choices at all, leaving thousands of Americans left with a government mandate and nothing to purchase.

But our health care system doesn’t have to be this way, and the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the first step in providing relief to the American people from a health care system in collapse.

The AHCA repeals Obamacare’s taxes and mandates and returns the power of regulating health insurance back to the states.

Through tax credits, we are helping Americans pay for plans they choose, as opposed to insurance they’re forced to buy.

Instead of fining the uninsured, we offer incentives to people to remain continuously covered. By expanding access to Health Savings Accounts, it’ll be easier for Americans to save for out of pocket medical expenses.

Through these provisions and many more, we will drive down costs and increase access to care.

We will provide incentives and choices so Americans can choose the plan that’s right for them, at the right cost, and allows them to maintain continuous coverage.

Despite what you may have heard, the AHCA provides layers of protections for people with pre-existing conditions — something I strongly advocated for.

There has been a lot of empty rhetoric about this plan, so let me tell you what’s actually in the bill: No person can ever be denied insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Period.

Insurance companies are banned from taking away coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Period. And insurance companies cannot raise premiums on anybody with a pre-existing condition as long as they maintain continuous coverage.

We allocated an additional $8 billion to states who opt out of some of these Obamacare regulations, on top of the $130 billion given to states to assist with lowering premiums, helping with out of pocket costs, and setting up coverage pools for the most at risk patients.

The AHCA isn’t perfect; very few bills are, but it is a massive step in the right direction. The American Health Care Act will drive down premium costs, increase access to care, reduce the federal deficit, and allow patients to take charge of their plans again.

I voted yes so we can send this bill to the Senate for further consideration, and I look forward continuing the debate and working with my colleagues to fix our broken health care system.

Bill Shuster, R-Blair, has served as the U.S. Representative in the 9th District since 2001.