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Congressman Bruce Poliquin

Representing the 2nd District of Maine

Obamacare Repeal Without Replacement Will Not Work

July 25, 2017
Press Release
As talks continue on health care, Congressman Poliquin once again announces opposition of repealing ACA without replacement

WASHINGTON – Congressman Bruce Poliquin (ME-02) today announced he would not support a repeal of the ACA, the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare, without a viable alternative.


In 2015, Congressman Poliquin voted against a repeal without a replacement, saying at the time, “I am against Obamacare. It is hurting jobs, hurting our families, limiting choices. But I need to see a tangible, free-market replacement and this bill does not give us that. I need to see how we're gonna fix this and not just be someone who votes for the 56th time to repeal this.”


That same year, the Congressman also put forward his own 14-point plan to implementing a free market solution to help fix the failures of the ACA law.


Since then, several proposals have been put forward to offer alternatives which provide a glide path for ACA policy holders, including those who were forced into Obamacare policies due to IRS penalties or because Obamacare caused their own plans to be cancelled. With those proposals being put forward, repeal and replacement of the ACA seemed possible. Recent inaction in the Senate, however, points to the real possibility of not having a replacement for the failing Obamacare law.


Current discussions in the Senate include passing a repeal without a replacement, and sending it back to the House. Others are suggesting the House vote, once again, for a repeal without a replacement. Congressman Poliquin opposes these ideas. 


Congressman Poliquin released the following statement:


“In light of what we have seen over the last several months, once again, I cannot support the repeal of the ACA without a viable replacement. Changes in insurance markets are complex. Many fellow Mainers are impacted either as policy holders or due to the ACA regulations on their private individual or employer coverage. We shouldn't forget that thousands of Maine families were forced into Obamacare either because of the threat of an IRS penalty, or because their own policies were cancelled under Obamacare's red tape regulations. We simply cannot tell these people they will now have no access to insurance because of inaction by the U.S. Senate.


“Let’s be clear, Obamacare is not working despite what some proponents of the status quo would have us believe. During six years of growing problems, the ACA has cost taxpayers billions and billions of dollars. Its roll-out nearly failed under collapsing taxpayer-funded insurance exchanges. Thousands of Maine families lost their choice of doctors and health plans even though career politicians promised they could keep them. Monthly premiums and annual deductibles under Obamacare have been increasing by double digits year-after-year-after-year. Some ignore or forget these straightforward facts, but the rollout and implementation of Obamacare has not performed as sold.


“Part of the ACA law has been the rapid expansion of the medical welfare program, called Medicaid, or MaineCare in our State, to able-bodies adults with no dependents. We need to be honest about how Medicaid is an open-ended program with no budget which continues to grow beyond the taxpayers' ability to pay for the health care benefits. It's simply not sustainable.


"Medicaid started as a welfare program designed to provide health care to those truly in need—such as children, the disabled, and the elderly who can’t afford to contribute to Medicare. Hard-working Mainers and retirees understand that limited Medicaid, or MaineCare, dollars should be reserved for those who are the most at risk rather than for those who are not disabled, have no dependents, and can purchase their own health insurance. Congress should be working to lower the cost of private insurance so that people can afford it instead of asking the government, our taxpayers, to subsidize more and more medical welfare.


"Medicaid, or MaineCare, should be put on a financially sustainable path so it can continue to provide for those who need it most for generations to come. Continuing to add childless able-bodied adults on welfare only helps trap them in government dependency and poverty while further straining state and federal budgets. Welfare funding is not free. Welfare dollars are paid by hard-working American taxpayers. Not long ago, Maine taxpayers were forced to pay-off a massive $750 million welfare debt to Maine hospitals because of an earlier MaineCare expansion to able-bodied adults with no kids. For years, this accumulating mountain of debt crowded out state government's ability to adequately fund road and bridge repairs, border protection, public safety, and the fight against our devastating opioid and heroin epidemic.


“We also need to be honest about the robust list of essential health care benefits already, and still, required to be included in any insurance policy sold in Maine, no matter what Congress does or does not do. For many years, Maine has required this strong coverage—well before Obamacare became law. Any replacement of the ACA will not change the fact that Maine still will require these same health insurance protections.


“Job-killing taxes and layers of regulations should not be the standard by which health insurance is measured. Government needs to support a sustainable free market system which lowers the cost of health insurance by providing incentives for providers to compete for our business. This will result in more plan choices and lower costs.


"Moving to a complete government takeover of our health care system is a bad idea. The enormous "single-payer" socialist bureaucracy would further drive up costs and ration health care services. The United States leads the world in health care innovation. Stifling that free market success would result in worse health care for all. Health care is more complex now than ever before. Adding additional layers of government bureaucracy and red tape would only make matters worse.


“Maine and America needs to ensure there's a responsible, sustainable health insurance plan in place before Obamacare is repealed. That common sense approach is only fair to our families struggling to afford coverage whether it be an Obamacare policy or not.


“We need to ensure we have a plan in place, a glide path, to a new fiscally responsible and sustainable solution. Repeal without replace does not accomplish that mission.”


Congressman Poliquin also voted to eliminate the ACA medical device tax, and voted to end the Obamacare IRS penalty mandate so families can make their own health care decisions. He has consistently voted to move forward on free market solutions to this serious national problem in order to increase health insurance choices and lower costs for everyone.


Since entering Congress in January 2015, it is critical to note that Congressman Poliquin has been proactive on this important issue. For example, within a few months of serving in Washington, he introduced a 14-point free market solution to fix Obamacare. He continues to work with Republicans and Democrat to find the best solution to this serious problem.


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