WSAV 3 (Savanah, Georgia): Congressman Buddy Carter reacts to concerns about new healthcare bill

“What this act will do is it will provide more choices, more competition and more accessibility,” says Congressman Buddy Carter. The 1st district republican lawmaker returned home from Washington Friday morning saying a lot has been accomplished in their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act.)

“The Affordable Care Act is imploding, just yesterday we heard an insurer was pulling out of the state of Iowa,” says Carter. “In states across the country, they are being left with one insurer or sometimes even none for people who are getting their insurance coverage through the exchanges.”

But some of Carter’s constituents disagree. A few like Melissa Burkholder showed up at his Savannah office. ” You know what happened Thursday – the worst health care bill in the history of this country was passed,” she said. “I’m a breast cancer survivor I will not be able to get insurance because i have that pre-existing condition they will make my insurance so high. This bill caters to insurance companies.”

Carter says the bill says that insurance companies can’t discriminate against those who’ve been sick. However, it would also allow states to separate them into a high risk pool.(after requesting a waiver and proving it’s needed or useful in that particular state.) Once in a high risk pool, most consumers fear they would face a huge increase in the price of their premiums. Yet Carter says billions of dollars have been set aside to help pay for coverage in those high risk pools. “And if it turns out that it’s not enough, we will re-visit that but we’re going to make sure they’re taken care of. One of our priorities was making sure pre-existing conditions were considered.”

The bill would eliminate subsidies to help people pay for insurance, critics saying this would hurt low income families the most. It does offer tax credits but again critics say they are cut for low income.

The tax credits of $2,000 to $4,000 would taper off after a certain income level ($75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for families). And the tax credits are based on age. AARP has already come out against the plan calling it an “age tax.” Nothing is certain, but at least in the language of the bill, older people might be charged three to five times more for coverage than younger counterparts.

Carter acknowledges the bill isn’t perfect but says it will help many and get more insurance companies to participate. ” I can promise you without a doubt that things will be better than they are under the Affordable Care Act.,” he told us.

The bill is not law by any means yet. It must still go to the Senate. Carter did tell us that whatever happens there will be a “smooth” transition.

Other provisions in the new legislation:

1) Dismantles Obamacare taxes
2) Eliminates the individual mandate and employer mandate penalties
3) Allows young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26