Improving Health Care Requires Bipartisanship, Transparency

April 7, 2017
Contributed Columns

One of my top priorities is finding bipartisan solutions for the challenges impacting Arizona families, including access to affordable health care coverage.

While the Affordable Care Act made improvements to our health care system, higher premiums and reduced coverage options are still major issues we must resolve.

Rather than focusing on fixes, Washington has offered us partisan gridlock. The most recent effort to fix our health care system, the American Health Care Act, is a prime example of what Congress should not do.

I could not support the AHCA because it would have restricted access to health care for those who need it most. An independent review of the legislation by the Congressional Budget Office estimated nearly 24 million Americans would lose health coverage over the next 10 years. While many would choose to go without coverage, millions more would be unable to afford the increasing premiums.

County-by-county analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed premiums in the 1st Congressional District rising more than 700 percent under the AHCA. In addition, thousands with pre-existing conditions would be saddled with rising costs for ongoing treatment and coverage.

Recently, I shared the story of a young boy from Flagstaff named Cameron with my colleagues in Congress. Cameron was born with a congenital heart defect that he will live with his entire life. Thanks to a surgery at 5 weeks old, he is a happy, healthy eight-year-old boy, but he will require future surgeries and care.

His parents shared his story, like so many other Arizonans who called and wrote to my offices, to express their concerns about future affordability and availability of health coverage for their son as he grows up with this pre-existing condition.

I told Cameron’s story during a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives because I believe it is important to keep in mind the real-world consequences of our actions.