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Guthrie Wants Obamacare "Re-Write", Focus on Getting Medical Devices on U.S. Market Sooner

Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s Second District Congressman is predicting a major “re-write” of the Affordable Care Act next year.

Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie would have an up-close view of such an effort, as he was named vice-chair of a key House Health Subcommittee Wednesday.

Guthrie says the complicated structure of the federal health law makes it difficult to change certain aspects of the A.C.A without creating unintended consequences elsewhere.

“You hear a lot of people say, ‘let’s keep what we like and fix what we don’t like.’ And there are things that we need as part of our system. We need to make sure that people have health care if they’re sick, and pre-existing conditions don’t push them out of the marketplace.”

But the Bowling Green Republican said adding so many additional Americans to the healthcare system made it impossible for President Obama to keep his pledge that everyone could keep the doctor and health plan that they wanted.

The Congressman also expressed concern about states—like Kentucky—that expanded their Medicaid rolls as part of Obamacare.

“The people of Kentucky have to understand that 400,000 people were given health insurance with zero obligation to work for it,” Rep. Guthrie said during a phone interview with WKU Public Radio. “I mean, there’s no obligation to show up for work in any capacity to get this expansion of healthcare. And I just think that’s untenable.”

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear expanded Medicaid this year to cover more low-income adults, with the federal government picking up all of the costs the first three years.

Beshear said offering coverage to more of the state’s poor was the morally correct thing to do.

Republicans say the state won’t be able to pick up the tab once federal support for the Medicaid expansion decreases to 90percent by 2020.

U.S. vs. Europe in Medical Devices/Technology

Guthrie says he expects Congress to look for ways to streamline the process of getting new medical devices on the market.

The Warren County Republican believes the U.S. needs to be more competitive with European Union countries that aggressively approve new medical devices and equipment.

He says the U.S. is losing out on jobs that wind up in Europe and other parts of the world.

“So they’re moving their manufacturing overseas, and they’ll be on the second or third generation of products being used in human beings in Europe before they ever get approved here. And those are things that the President has actually talked about fixing.”

Guthrie says he expects his subcommittee to produce legislation called “21st Century Cures” next year that will be aimed at getting innovative disease treatments on the market quicker.

The subcommittee Guthrie will vice-chair oversees Medicare, Medicaid, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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