Yesterday, Republicans in the House of Representatives revealed several key changes to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the new Republican healthcare plan. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01) led the fight for these bold, conservative changes to be included during the AHCA markup in the House Budget Committee. Gaetz has announced that he will now vote in favor of this bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Rep. Gaetz initially expressed reservations about the first draft of the AHCA bill. “By allowing Medicaid expansion to continue unchecked, the bill was too similar to Obamacare. That’s not what the American people voted for,” he said. “We have now fixed the problem, and we’re ready to proceed with the conservative reform the American people want and need.”
Gaetz convinced his colleagues on the Budget Committee that changes to the AHCA were necessary. These changes included giving states the option to convert their Medicaid programs into block grants, allowing states to create work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults, and stopping the runaway expansion of Medicaid. The changes Gaetz has pursued would also help to reduce health care costs for adults aged 50–64. These changes have now been included in the AHCA, in the form of a manager’s amendment.
The AHCA will provide nearly a trillion dollars in tax relief for Americans by repealing many of Obamacare’s taxes. The AHCA will also repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, as well as the employer mandate, which Gaetz has said “throws a wet blanket over our economy, and stifles entrepreneurship and economic growth.”
Explaining his support for the amended bill, Gaetz said “Even though the original was a huge improvement over Obamacare, we needed to make a few key changes to it, so it would be even better for the American people. Obamacare was essentially an expansion of the Medicaid program, so allowing Medicaid to expand for several more years didn’t make sense,” Gaetz said. “Commonsense, conservative solutions — stopping the runaway expansion of Medicaid, and allowing states to implement work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults — help keep costs down for the American people. The 2016 elections showed that people wanted real, substantial reform, and we heard that message loud and clear. With the new changes, the bill is even better for the American people, and doing right by the people is my highest priority.”
The AHCA will now move to the House Committee on Rules, where amendments — consistent with Congressman Gaetz’s work in the Budget Committee — will be considered before it goes to the House floor for a vote.