Rep. Pete Roskam: Post Ryancare, Congress Must Still Fix Obamacare’s Flaws

Obama-Ryan-Cross Purposes-APPablo Martinez Monsivais
AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Illnois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam told Chicago’s WGN-TV that he supported the American Health Care Act crafted by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) as a necessary fix of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare.

“It was an improvement as to where we are now,” he said told the station.

There is a restlessness among the people in his district about Obamacare and what will be done with it, he said.

The congressman said during the three-week battle over the Ryancare bill, he heard from constituents who have been hurt by Obamacare and people helped by Obamacare.

In the final bill, Roskam said he received assurances in writing that Illinois would not lose Medicaid protections. He said he was comfortable with concessions given to the House Freedom Caucus, including modifying the Essential Health Benefits — those items required for all policies — so that the EHB’s were determined the states.

“My view was that on balance, this bill was a step forward,” he said.

“Friday was a big disappointment because the bill got pulled, because there was not a lot of support for it; so moving forward, there was this notion that this was the healthcare debate, take-it-or-leave-it, and I don’t believe that is true for a second,” he said.

One of the reasons the bill did not pass was that the speaker crafted the bill to meet the requirements of the Senate’s rules governing budget bills, he said.

“It is so complicated and so difficult to understand that nobody even hardly understands what you are talking about,” Roskam said. “The better move in the past would have been to pass out of the House–even though it’s not going to move in the Senate–the actual proposal–what is it you are for? Not with limitations, what are the aspirations?”

Roskam said he is convinced that in the coming weeks, there will be a serious move to reengage the House Republicans about reforming national healthcare policy.

“We can’t stay here,” he said.

The next move should be to go back to the two things every American agreed about when President Barack Obama first started the Obamacare debate, he said.

First, health care is too expensive and many of the cost drivers are not making us any healthier, he said.

Second, it bothered everyone that Americans with pre-existing conditions did not have access to insurance coverage.

“If the Obama administration had focused on those two core things, we would be having a very different conversation about health care today,” he said.


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