The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare,” that passed in 2011 was more than just a malfunctioning website. Big government, "one size fits all" $2.2 trillion solutions simply do not work in our large, complex country. Overly broad statutes have way too many unintended consequences. The ACA harmed and continues to harm Americans by limiting their choices, increasing healthcare costs and raising taxes on hard-working families and businesses. It also chipped away at the critical physician / patient relationship. During my years in Congress, I have consistently argued to replace the ACA with badly needed reforms that will increase choice and lower healthcare costs for all Arkansans while preserving access to full coverage for those Arkansans with pre-existing conditions.
President Obama promised us that “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it” and that our insurance premiums would fall and healthcare access would improve. None of this was true, and in fact, the opposite happened. Time and time again over the past six years I've heard your complaints about plans that disappeared, increases in premiums, shockingly high deductibles leading to loss of healthcare coverage, and out-of-pocket costs that are out of reach for many families across the nation and especially in Arkansas.
For years, the Democrats led by now Speaker Nancy Pelosi have refused to work with Republicans to generate bipartisan solutions to these challenges. Our healthcare system faces serious problems; we need targeted, surgical, and carefully considered reforms that acknowledge the complexity of our healthcare system. I have repeatedly voted to repeal this broken healthcare law and start over with those reforms that actually lower healthcare costs, protect pre-existing conditions, and improve access for Arkansas families. Despite Nancy Pelosi's opposition, I will not defend the status quo. Our families deserve better.
Now, Speaker Pelosi and the Washington Democrats aren’t even considering reforms or Republican ideas. Instead, many in their party are pushing for something called “Medicare for All” which will result in rising medical costs, fewer doctors, and longer wait times as we have seen in England and other nations that have implemented this system.
During my time in Congress I have worked hard to support healthcare particularly for our kids and in our rural areas and for our families that lack access to care. In 2018, Congress reauthorized the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years. As a former member of the Board of Directors of Arkansas Children's Hospital, I know the benefits of this important program for our families. CHIP is strongly supported by a bipartisan majority and by me. Likewise, access to care in our rural areas and for our families that have a hard time accessing care is greatly benefited by the community health centers. Arkansas has over 100 community health centers. They do a terrific job providing primary care particularly for moms including prenatal care. They have been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, and I have long supported their efforts and serve on the Congressional Community Health Center Caucus. We are all grateful for their staffs and efforts.