By Congressman Dave Brat (R, VA-7)
Excerpt from “Friends of Dave Brat, Inc.” message dated April 24, 2017
This morning I was on the Jimmy Barrett show to talk about the status of the health care bill. In case you missed it, you can hear our discussion below.
Here’s an excerpt:
Jimmy Barrett: President Trump said he’d like to have a healthcare bill next week. Doable or not? Do you think you can have a bill to him next week?
Dave Brat: Yes, I do Jimmy … we’re still waiting on the text, but President Trump came over and negotiated with us in good faith, and our group got together, and Vice President Pence came over with some amendments to the bill. The main thing is just draining the swamp, and that means taking some of the power out of D.C. and cracking the door open to let states deal with some of the insurance regulations so that we can finally get the price down for people. … and so, we think we’re at a yes, the White House wants it, we’ve been compromising with all the moderate groups … The mainstream media always makes a big deal about all the infighting between the groups, but that’s not really [going on] … Right now it’s just all about following solid Republican principles and I think we’re there.
Jimmy Barrett: Personally, I don’t mind the infighting because at least it shows you’re trying to get it right. Democrats have a tendency to walk in lockstep on any bill that’s out there, regardless of whether they agree with what’s in it or not …
Dave Brat: … What we don’t want is people gaming the system. We’re trying to do the regulations the right way so someone can’t game the system and to make sure it’s fair to everybody. And to get back to the pre-Obamacare days where people could buy a healthcare premium that was affordable, without a $10,000 deductible. Does anybody remember those days? I hope you do, we’re trying to get you back there.
Also, this morning, I was on “New Day” with Chris Cuomo where we had a lively back and forth about the prospects of the GOP healthcare bill getting to a yes next week. And, as I told Jimmy Barrett, we are still waiting for the official text of the bill, but I’m optimistic we can get there because the language that we are looking for is ready to go.
The goal has always been to deliver good policy and a better healthcare system for the American people—and getting around the swamp of Washington special interests that bogged down our first effort. President Trump and Vice President Pence campaigned on that and we are all on the same page. Right now, with Obamacare, there is an $11,000 deductible on the Bronze plan. The average American according to studies has $400 in the bank in savings. It doesn’t take much math to determine that a $11,000 deductible is not doable for the average American in that scenario. They may have a glitzy policy the media likes to talk about, but no health care policy they can actually put to good use.
Republicans are going to change that.
In case you missed it, here’s a brief clip:
The key point I want to make clear is that we want to get a healthcare bill passed next week, and members of the House Freedom Caucus are now at a yes. My friends voted for me to clean the swamp, and you voted for President Trump to drain the swamp. I don’t think that most people consider an extension of a giant federal healthcare program draining the swamp, so I have to balance the bill that is put before us with the importance of moving forward with the Trump agenda—and that includes sweeping tax reform and a good budget that starts us on the road to real economic recovery. And, I’m doing my job as usual to fulfill my promise to keep to the principles of the Virginia Republican Creed, which we all believe in, and that starts off with adherence to the free market system.
Vice President Pence has offered an amendment and compromise that will allow states to opt out of some of the regulations. That will allow more of a free market outcome, and will ensure that prices and premiums can go down, particularly for young people who do not now have an opportunity to buy an affordable policy that makes sense for their needs.
As you know, the original bill that was pulled before a vote was polling at a 17% favorability with the American people. We were faced with an artificial deadline after only three weeks of looking at the bill, which does not allow for any proper analysis. No competing bills were allowed, or even a small debate about alternatives on the House floor. That is not the way to get to good policy—especially when the law affects virtually all Americans in all walks of life and impacts 1/6 of the economy. We have all been working very hard to make the bill better, and while we still acknowledge it’s a federal healthcare bill—and we are not happy about that—this is the best we can do and there are far worse alternatives and outcomes without this bill.