Congressman Hensarling’s Statement on the American Healthcare Act


On March 24, 2017, U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling issued a press release regarding the failure of the Congress to keep their oft-repeated promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare.”

 Below is the release (verbatim) in black, with commentary in blue:

 Press Release

 WASHINGTON—Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement on the American Health Care Act:

Unfortunately, we allowed the perfect to become the enemy of the good, and because of that, Obamacare remains fully intact.

As recently outlined in the Washington Examiner, Trumpcare should have been rejected:

While the American Health Care Act [AHCA] makes some productive changes such as repealing the individual and employer mandates and expanding health savings accounts, it also replaces one entitlement with another, preserves Obamacare’s “Cadillac tax” and “essential health benefit” mandates, and keeps the unaffordable Medicaid expansion open for nearly three more years.

The GOP bill’s refundable tax credits are nearly indistinguishable from Obamacare’s subsidies. Like Obamacare, the GOP’s $300 billion entitlement provides a direct payment to mask the cost of premiums. While this helps consumers in the short run, it does nothing to reduce the actual cost of health insurance or healthcare and merely shifts the burden to taxpayers.

The Republican legislation also preserves Obamacare’s Cadillac tax that has been delayed in the past. Republicans have promised to repeal all of Obamacare’s tax increases, but maintained this one simply as a budget gimmick.

While both of these provisions are disappointing, they pale in comparison to AHCA’s lack of action on Medicaid expansion and insurance regulations.

Medicaid expansion is the single most expensive piece of Obamacare. It has deepened the debt, crowded out state budgets, and worsened access to care for the most vulnerable Americans for whom Medicaid was intended. While moving to a block grant is a welcome reform, AHCA keeps the inflated federal match rate for Medicaid expansion open through 2019 for states that have already expanded.

This incentivizes states to grow Medicaid enrollment as much as possible before then to increase federal funding and punishes states that wisely rejected Medicaid expansion.  Medicaid expansion enrollment should be frozen no later than Jan. 1, 2018. Doing so would protect both taxpayers and patients, as states have demonstrated previously and nearly 200 state lawmakers called for. 

Finally, AHCA leaves in place Obamacare’s “essential health benefit” mandates that every plan must cover, regardless of whether people want them. These regulations essentially made low-cost insurance illegal. They are the reason millions of Americans had their health plans canceled in 2013 despite President Barack Obama’s promises they could keep them, and why millions more have seen massive premium increases year after year.

Many have argued that Congress cannot repeal regulations in the budget reconciliation process. While their claim itself is debatable, they also fail to explain why Congress shouldn’t at least try.

Leaving in place Obamacare’s most harmful provisions — including those most expensive to taxpayers and its primary driver of plan cancellations and premium increases – is why conservatives have dubbed the American Health Care Act “Obamacare 2.0.

This is what Congressman Hensarling calls “the good.”

The House Freedom Caucus (FC) courageously and correctly refused to support the RINO’s tweak.  Hensarling derides them for looking out for their district and the rest of us, instead of themselves . . . a form of “the perfect” that he could learn a thing or two from.  He blames them for the failure to rid America of the Obamacare menace, knowing full well that the AHCA would have provided almost no relief.

Notice there is no criticism of Democrats, who provided far more votes against the bill than the FC did.  He only blames conservatives.

Clearly, there are differences of opinion within our Conference on how best to legislatively repeal and replace Obamacare under the current process – differences that might have been avoided if the United States Senate would simply change its rules to allow bills to be passed with 51 votes.

This statement is dripping in contempt for legitimate conservatives.  Congressman Hensarling laments the fact that the Senate chose not to use the nuclear option to pass AHCA because if they had, the FC’s “differences” (legitimate concerns) would have been annihilated and the FC marginalized in the process, which in his mind probably would have been just about perfect.

Nevertheless, I was proud to stand with President Trump and Speaker Ryan today in our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Not only was he “proud to stand with the president and Paul Ryan” instead of his district, he calls AHCA an “effort to repeal and replace Obamacare,” which is a blatant mischaracterization of the bill.  It was never a repeal nor a replacement, but a tweak.

Our Conference is blessed to be led by a great conservative like Paul Ryan. He’s a man of impeccable integrity who has an unyielding passion for the cause of freedom.

Were Paul Ryan “a great conservative,” he would not have received an F from Conservative Review, which provides the most accurate congressional scoring in the scorecard business.  Paul Ryan is the poster boy for corrupt Republicans.  Men with impeccable integrity and unyielding passion for freedom don’t say one thing and do another.  And while we’re at it, check out Congressman Hensarling’s score.

He showed phenomenal leadership and negotiated in good faith throughout this process.

Not according to Congressman Louie Gohmert, who not only gets an A from Conservative Review but has repeatedly proven himself through his words and actions to actually be a man of impeccable integrity with an unyielding passion for the cause of freedom.

It is my hope that we can regroup and rally behind him and the President as a Conference to deliver on our promise to provide relief to the American people who are currently forced to buy healthcare they cannot afford and cannot use under our current system.

We hope that President Trump has had a change of heart about Obamacare’s replacement.  Whether or not anyone should rally behind him remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure, if the president has seen the light, he won’t be able to count on Hensarling’s support, unless of course Ryan instructs him to.  If the congressman truly wanted to deliver on the promise made to the American people, he would join the FC.

Let’s get our ducks in a row:

  • Repeal (to revoke or withdraw formally or officially; to revoke or annul (a law, tax, duty, etc.) by express legislative enactment; abrogate), and

  • Replace (to provide a substitute or equivalent in the place of) instead of

  • Tweak (to make a minor adjustment to)

Our congressman is so out of touch with the people of his district that he virtually brags about his devotion to Paul Ryan, freely expresses his disdain for the Freedom Caucus, and tries to push a disastrous healthcare bill on us that he is exempt from. We get what we tolerate.

Jan Shedd
Kaufman County Tea Party




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