Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins spoke from the Senate floor this afternoon to discuss an Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement plan that she will introduce with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) next Monday. Their replacement plan, The Patient Freedom Act of 2017, would increase choice and access to affordable health care.
“There has been much debate lately on the best approach to replacing and reforming the Affordable Care Act,” Senator Collins said from the Senate floor.
“Some of my colleagues have argued for immediate repeal without any replacement, an option that I reject for it risks leaving millions of vulnerable Americans without affordable health insurance and would undo important consumer protections provided by current law. Others have proposed repeal with the delayed effective date of two or three years to allow time for the Senate to devise legislation that would provide a better approach to health insurance. My concern with the repeal and delay plan is that the Obamacare exchanges, already on very shaky financial grounds, would go into a death spiral as consumers would face uncertainty and insurers would have no basis for pricing their policies.”
“I'm pleased to see a growing consensus among members of both the Senate and the House that we must repair the ACA and provide reforms at nearly the same time that we repeal the law in order to protect families who rely on the program and to give insurers time to transition to a new marketplace that is based on more choices for consumers.”
Senator Collins went onto describe the legislation she is working to develop alongside Senator Bill Cassidy, a physician from Louisiana:
“In 2015, I joined Senator Cassidy in introducing a more comprehensive and creative approach, the Patient Freedom Act. This is the basis for the legislation we are going to be introducing soon and would allow states to have more choices. If they like the Affordable Care Act, they can keep the Affordable Care Act. If they want to go an alternative route that is more patient centered, that would provide more choices and help to restrain costs, they could do that too and the federal government would bundle the funding that would otherwise be used for the ACA subsidies and expansion of Medicaid in their state and allow them to proceed along a more creative route.
“We recognize how different the needs of our states are, but our citizens should have access to affordable health care and to choose the path that works best for them. We'll be talking more about the specifics of our bill when we introduce it, but I'm excited about this approach. I'm not saying that it's perfect, but it's important that we put specific proposals on the table that our colleagues can coalesce around, debate, and refine so that we can move ahead and remove the fear and uncertainty of families who are relying on coverage through the exchanges without putting an undue burden on the employers who create jobs in this country.”
To watch Senator Collins' remarks from the Senate floor, click HERE