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Conroe Courier: A historic week for Obamacare repeal

By U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady

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Washington, March 15, 2017 | comments

The end of ObamaCare has begun. The controversial, struggling health care law set sail seven years ago, helping some but hurting millions of patients, families and local businesses. Today experts from both political parties acknowledge it's a sinking ship leaving even more Americans in a lurch in the near future.

I'm proud the House Ways & Means Committee I lead took the first historic step last Wednesday to repeal this collapsing law and replace it with affordable health care. This action follows nearly 200 congressional hearings, dozens of bills passed through the House and a marathon 18-hour committee meeting that stretched until 4 a.m.

The American Health Care Act repeals hundreds of billions of dollars of tax hikes on health care plans, local businesses and jobs.

It ends the harsh penalties that forced Americans to buy expensive health care they didn't want and couldn't afford.

Starting January 1, 2020, the $600 billion in government subsidies will end, replaced with affordable tax credits that grow with age and family size. These credits are usable immediately so Americans can buy state-approved health care plans they need, not what Washington dictates. The measure also applies common-sense protections against taxpayer funding of elective abortions.

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Repeal-only is not an option, as President Trump has declared. This would drive ACA health care premiums sky high and cause even fewer choices to be available to patients.

Plus, these are real people with real, immediate health needs. So during the stable transition period the GOP plan begins restoring state control of health care and the free-market.

Replacing Washington control with state control is important so states can design health care to meet the unique needs of their communities.

After all, there is a huge difference between Manhattan, NYC and Manhattan, Kansas. Restoring the free market means Americans will have greater choices of affordable plans that fit their needs, not Washington's.

President Trump has made it clear: the conservative House GOP plan is his plan.

That is the bill that will end up on his desk. As he says "No more excuses". The time for talking is over. The time for Republicans to act is now.

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Senator Rand Paul has introduced a competing bill that is less conservative, and has attracted limited support. It leaves almost all of ObamaCare in place, including its trillion dollars in high taxes and expensive subsidies. Forbes Columnist Grace-Marie Turner describes it as "ObamaCare plus."

The Rand bill creates three new unlimited entitlement subsidies, ironically including a refundable tax credit like the Trump-House GOP plan.

It is a budget-buster with no identifiable way to pay for the hundreds of billions of dollars in new Washington spending. It also relies on Democrat support to pass. Few believe Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer or any other Democrats will join Senator Paul in support.

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Ultimately Senate Republicans will determine the final bill since it is their outdated budget rules that restrict what the House can send to them to avoid a Democrat filibuster.

My belief is that despite all the media hoopla, there is much more that unites Republicans than divides us.

U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.

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