LIMA — Healthcare has become a hot-button topic in American politics as debates continue about the planned repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. It was also on the mind of U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, during a visit to Lima Friday to both area hospitals and at an Allen County Republican Party luncheon.
After meeting with hospital officials at Lima Memorial Health System Friday morning, Jordan outlined his priorities for seeking a repeal of the current national health plan.
“It gave all these mandates, all these taxes, all these regulations, it drove up the cost of insurance for everybody and it mandated that you had to buy it and if you didn’t, you get penalized,” he said. “We’ve been living under that now for several years. It’s time to get rid of it, so let’s repeal it and replace it with a patient-centered, market-centered, family-centered model, not what we currently have where all the focus is in D.C.”
The House Freedom Caucus, of which Jordan is a member, has recently endorsed a plan introduced by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, which expands on the use of health savings accounts and allows those seeking insurance to shop across state lines. The same legislation has also been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Mark Sanford, R-South Carolina. Jordan emphasized that even for those already with health conditions, options for insurance would still be available.
“We want to reward responsible behavior,” he said. “If you’ve been doing the responsible thing in having continuous coverage, if you’ve had insurance and have been paying for insurance, you can’t be kicked off.”
Another Republican Obamacare repeal plan centering around tax credits is currently being formed by Republican House leadership, but Jordan has reservations about that plan’s approach.
“The leadership’s got a plan that has some good aspects to it and some troublesome areas, as well, so we’ll have a debate and see what happens in the next few weeks,” he said. “We didn’t tell the voters we were going to repeal Obamacare but keep some of the taxes. We didn’t tell the voters we’re going to repeal Obamacare but keep this Medicaid expansion for the next five, six or seven years, as is being talked about, and we certainly didn’t tell voters we’re going to repeal Obamacare but start this new entitlement program where people who have no tax liability get a tax credit, or in simple terms, a subsidy.”
Jordan hopes that, after debate in the House and Senate, a bill will be awaiting President Trump’s signature within the next five to six weeks.