By Sen. John Thune
I can’t think of a more personal aspect of someone’s life than that of his or her doctor-patient relationship and the decisions they make together. Whether it’s a routine exam or a serious surgery or treatment, each decision – however large or small – can have a lasting effect on an individual and his or her family. The most important and fundamental part of this, of course, is first having access to affordable health care so these relationships can be built and the care can be delivered.
It would be an understatement to say that America’s health care system has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride over the last eight years. I’ll be the first to admit that health care in the United States wasn’t perfect before Obamacare was implemented, but it certainly didn’t make it better. For many Americans, it got worse.
Fixing our health care system is too important to get wrong, which is why I’m working with my colleagues in Congress on a plan that would correct some of Obamacare’s greatest shortcomings, like its high premiums and limited choices. The first step in this process, though, is ripping out the old law root and branch. Leaving it intact would be like treating a broken arm with a Band-Aid, two ibuprofen, and a pat on the back.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was recently introduced in the House of Representatives, is a good foundation from which we can work to turn the page on Obamacare. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the AHCA would meet two of my top priorities: It would reduce premiums (by 10 percent) and increase choices. The AHCA would also cut taxes by $883 billion, reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion, and make major entitlement reforms that would save taxpayers another $880 billion.
While this bill represents a great start, I’m working on a proposal that would make it even better. I believe that by making some common-sense adjustments to the bill’s tax credit, we can deliver more targeted relief to Americans who need it the most. My plan would simply apply an age and income test to the tax credit, ensuring low-income Americans and seniors receive more robust assistance.
Reforming America’s health care system isn’t easy, nor should it be. But by focusing on the best policies that deliver the best results, we can finally help reduce the cost of premiums, increase access to affordable care, and create a system of which both doctors and patients can be proud. That’s what I’m fighting to achieve.