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Mullin' It Over Column

How Repeal Becomes Replace

By Congressman Markwayne Mullin

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Washington, March 9, 2017 | comments

This week, House Republicans rolled out The American Health Care Act (AHCA) to start the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare.  Our plan keeps our promise to repeal the individual and employer mandate, preserve Indian health care, provides a stable transition to a system that is patient focused, and deliver lower costs, more choices, and greater control over health care for Oklahomans. 

There is nothing more personal in the world than health care.  Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with The American Health Care Act has both gained supporters and brought on critics.  That goes for any bill that is introduced in Congress, which is why bills go through ‘Regular Order.’  Regular Order is the transparent process in which Members of Congress debate and amend legislation in committee and on the House Floor.

When it comes to The American Health Care Act, everyone wants to talk about what is not in the bill, instead of what is in the bill.  Discussions on this bill have just started in the House of Representatives.  The Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee spent this past week marking up the bill within their respective committees.  Energy and Commerce handles the health care portion of repealing Obamacare and Ways and Means marks up the tax portion of the repeal process. 

During each of the committee markups of The American Health Care Act, committee members can submit amendments to make changes to the bill.  Once the bill passes out of committee by a majority vote, any Member of Congress can submit an amendment to the bill before it is voted on by the full House of Representatives.  That’s the standard, regular order process that Congress uses for any bill taken to the House floor.

Any amendment that is submitted has to receive 218 votes when it reaches the House floor.  If an amendment can receive the 218 votes to pass, I think that’s great.  I’m all for making The American Health Care Act better, but the reality is that this bill has to receive 218 votes in the House and 51 votes in the Senate or we will be keeping Obamacare.  In Oklahoma, premiums will continue to skyrocket and deductibles will continue to soar.  Obamacare and the death spiral it has created will inevitably cause Oklahoma’s lone insurance company to pull out of the marketplace.   

It’s important to remember that our nation is made up of 50 states for a reason.  Everyone comes from a different part of the country and everyone has unique ideas, hardships, and opinions.  The federal government, made up of 435 representatives and 100 senators representing people in all 50 states, will never agree on a bill that is perfect for everyone, but they can agree on strong legislation that moves our country forward.  When considering a bill, we have to honestly answer three questions: Is the bill in line with the U.S. Constitution?  Is it better than what we have now?  Does it shrink the size of government?

If the answer to those three questions are ‘yes,’ then Members of Congress have two options when the final bill is on the House floor.  They can vote ‘yes’ because they want to get the country moving forward and because they want to improve the lives of their constituents.  They can also vote ‘no’ to keep the status quo.

To me, the answer is obvious.  We’re strengthening and healing our country by passing The American Health Care Act.  It delivers the much needed relief that all Oklahomans have been waiting for.  I support The American Health Care Act because, while no bill will make our health care system perfect, we can do better.  The American Health Care Act is better and it will be better for Oklahomans. 
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