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Brooks Offers States' Rights Health Bill Compromise to Vice President Pence

April 3, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Tonight, Vice President Mike Pence met with the House Freedom Caucus to discuss American Health Care Act amendments sufficient to garner House Freedom Caucus support.

During the meeting Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) stated to Vice President Pence that, “The March 23, 2017 Congressional Budget Office scoring of the health care plan states, ‘In 2018 and 2019, according to the [Congressional Budget Office] and [Joint Committee on Taxation's] estimates, average premiums for single policyholders in the nongroup market would be 15% to 20% higher under the legislation than under [ObamaCare].’”

Congressman Brooks continued, “We promised America we would work to lower health insurance premiums for struggling American families.  Yet the current health care bill does the exact opposite by increasing premiums 15-20% over and above what they would be if we left ObamaCare alone.  That makes no sense.  Notwithstanding that there are many health care bill provisions with which I strongly disagree, as a compromise, I will vote for the health care bill in its current form if a States Rights’ amendment is added that gives states the absolute right to determine for themselves the content and coverages in health insurance policies issued to its citizens.  Hence, a state, not the federal government, shall decide whether its health insurance policies will include Essential Health Benefits.  These are the health insurance provisions that, for example, require grandmothers to purchase maternity care they do not want and cannot possibly use.  The decision to include Title I mandates, and the like, in insurance policies will also be left up to states.  Title I mandates include but are not limited to 26 and under children policy inclusions, pre-existing conditions, community ratings, and all of the other ObamaCare mandates that have forced health insurance premiums to skyrocket beyond the reach of many struggling American families.”

Congressman Brooks concluded, “Mr. Vice President, I am confident that health insurance premium costs will decline in Alabama if Alabama has control over health insurance cost drivers.  If the White House and the rest of the House GOP Conference will agree to this very constructive, cost-reducing, States' Rights measure, I will vote for the American Health Care Act.  Those states that want expensive policy requirements can have them, provided they are willing to pay the accompanying higher premium costs.  Conversely, those states that prefer lower premium costs, can take that approach.”

Although not relayed to Vice President Pence, Congressman Brooks will continue to pursue his bill to fully and completely repeal ObamaCare because Congressman Brooks is convinced that effort honors his promise to Tennessee Valley citizens and because a full repeal is in the best short-term and long-term interests of the American people.