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Smith deep in health care repeal

Third district Rep. Adrian Smith is in the midst of a historic move — the repeal of the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.
“Our country has become divided because of a forced health care bill that wasn’t bipartisan,” Smith said from his Washington office last week. “It was forced on people who didn’t want it or need it and now we see a great deal of pain resulting from Obamacare.”
Smith referenced a woman in western Nebraska, who lost her health insurance coverage four times and eventually went to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which decided not to participate in the government’s marketplace in 2017.
The move was  because of a $140 million loss in the three years since the marketplace’s 2013 inception.
The woman lost her coverage yet again, and Smith said that is why he introduced a bill to skirt the mandated penalty Americans have to pay for not joining the marketplace. The bill passed in the house last year, but didn’t clear the senate.
More choices in health care will drive affordable premiums, Smith said.
The repeal of ACA will be a transitional process to ensure Americans do not lose coverage.
“We have to be thoughtful and very aware people have been experiencing pain for several years. We want to reverse that,” he said.  
In a hearing on Capitol Hill last week, it was revealed democrat representatives quickly met in 2014 to divvy out $7 billion to insurance companies to cover losses.
Smith, who is chairing the Ways and Means committee, where the  issue came to light, released a statement after the hearing:
“The Obama administration chose to mislead Americans by quietly spending billions of unauthorized taxpayer dollars to prop up its collapsing health care law. This abuse of executive power is unacceptable, which is one of many reasons I voted for the budget resolution to start the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
In the hearing, the democrat representatives pressed for Congress to “move forward,” instead of focusing on the past.
Smith wants to move forward as well, but not for the same reason.
“I cannot stress enough our next president to bring our country together,” he said.
He said he is involved in rural health care issues, specifically hospitals and providers wallowing in bureacracy while the country faces a $19 trillion debt.
Looking at the fraud in the tax code will provide some relief, Smith said.
In addition, Smith said poverty programs, such as temporary financial assistance, will be discussed to help those in need become more independent.
“We’ve had some plans in place throughout the last year, such as ‘A Better Way’ to fight poverty,” Smith said.
A Better Way would provide individuals with opportunities instead of trapping people into receiving welfare. It would also tap into intellectual capital to grow the nation’s economy.
“The federal government holds people down. My responsibility is to ensure opportunities, rather than fixate on certain outcomes that denies individuals potential,” he said.
On another issue, Smith said the crumbling infrastructure is critical and also swimming in bureacracy.
“It will be a healthy debate moving forward in discussing how do we properly pay for infrastructure. We don’t want to throw money at something that drives inflation. If we throw the money, we’ll just have more of the same,” he said.
The shovel-ready projects from the Obama administration delivered nowhere near the stimulus promised because it was bogged down in political objectives, plus the bureaucracy, rather than the outcome.
For example, Smith said, he saw many signs that identified projects as funded by the stimulus.
“It got me wondering, how much did it cost to have the signs. It was a political objective in and of itself,” he said.
On the middle east, Smith hopes for a responsible exit as opposed to the last exit that led to the creation and elevation of ISIS.
“Obama referred to them as the JV team,” Smith said.
Recently, veteran and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced a bill to stop American tax dollars from funding terrorism. Terrorist groups funded by tax dollars are named in the bill. In her speech to Congress, Gabbard said funding terrorists is against the law and the US government has been breaking the law for years.
The cost of a seemingly perpetual war is weighing on the country.
“We can’t afford to fund perpetual involvement,” Smith said. “We can’t let politics drive the Pentagon or our military. We need to stand with our friends against terrorism and make sure we are not channeling resources to terrorists,” Smith said.
On the incoming president, Smith said Americans should give Donald Trump a chance.
“He spoke on election night in a unifying way. I can’t emphasize enough he understands strategy, unity and what that can deliver to the economy — bringing people together results in economic dividends. Every day I serve I think how important it is to focus on the solution,” Smith said.
Smith also serves subcommittees on trade, health and social security.

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