As lawmakers continue to pour over the Republican plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, members of Georgia’s congressional delegation have started to respond.
“Our healthcare system was plagued with issues and the Affordable Care Act only made matters worse,” said Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-West Point) in a written statement Tuesday.
“Our legislation seeks to roll back these harmful provisions, while promoting consumer choice and building a 21st century safety net that incentivizes state level innovation.”
The Republican plan came in the form of two bills released Tuesday afternoon. It would repeal the requirement that everyone buy health insurance and that employers offer it to their employees.
The plan would also allow insurers to raise rates by as much as 30 percent on people who let their insurance coverage lapse and includes changes to government subsidies to help people afford health care.
Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler), sits on the House Energy and Commerce committee, which helped write one of the bills.
“Medicaid reform is going to be a big part of what we do,” he said during an appearance on Fox News Monday.
He said the bill would limit future funding and would phase out the expansion of Medicaid made possible by the Affordable Care Act. Carter criticized the expansion, saying most who receive insurance are able-bodied adults.
“You shouldn’t call it Obamacare, you should call it Obamacaid,” he said.
Still, the GOP plan keeps a number of popular parts of Obamacare like allowing children to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 and the requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions.
“I’m excited that they’re beginning to expose some of the thinking behind this,” Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia) told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday. “We don’t have all the pieces to it yet, obviously, but (eliminating) the mandates — that’s a no-brainer … I’m going to wait and see the rest of it.”
Democrats have condemned the bill, including Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany). He says the Affordable Care Act has led to a nearly 5 percent drop in the number of uninsured people in his southwest Georgia district.
“Instead of working to improve on the progress we have made, House Republicans have proposed a bill that would jeopardize the ability of our citizens to lead healthy and productive lives,” Sanford said in a statement. “It makes little sense for Congress to be rushing headlong into this disastrous policy that could significantly impact so many lives.”