The Laudable Pursuit: Another Step Closer to Repealing Obamacare

Senator Mike Lee
2017-05-05 13:35:19
May 5, 2017 "to elevate the condition of men--to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life." --Abraham Lincoln Chairman's Note: The First Step Towards Revoking Obama's Land Grab Every time I travel back to Utah I hear from constituents who are paying higher and higher premiums every year, now sometimes higher than their mortgage payments. This has to stop. Now more than ever, Republicans need to repeal Obamacare. Just this week, Aetna announced they would be pulling out of Virginia's Obamacare marketplace entirely, leaving 27 counties in the state with just one health insurance provider. And in Iowa, Medica, the last Obamacare insurance provider in that state, announced they too would be leaving the marketplace, leaving tens of thousands of Iowans without any health insurance options at all. Ideally, Congress would have repealed Obamacare months ago and both chambers could be working on replacements right now. The initial plan was to have the 2015 repeal bill, which every non-freshman member of the House and Senate already voted for, on President Trump's desk to sign on Inauguration Day. But for whatever reasons another path was chosen and now five months later the House of Representatives passed a new repeal bill Thursday that will soon be moving to the Senate. Unfortunately that bill contains numerous fatal procedural flaws and much of it will have to be rewritten. In fact, it will probably have to be reenvisoned entirely. Fortunately a diverse group of Republican senators (including moderate and conservative members) have begun working on a new health care framework that can both get 51 votes in the Senate and survive the chambers arcane reconciliation rules. It is still far too early to tell what this group will produce, but the end result could end up being a huge win for the American people. Ideally a final product would put Medicaid on a sustainable fiscal path while minimizing disruptions in care for those currently enrolled in the program. It would take steps towards equalizing the tax treatment of health insurance. And it would find a way to better finance health care for low income Americans and those with pre-existing conditions without disrupting the health care market for the rest of the country. At a minimum this would mean repealing all or most of the Obamacare insurance regulations or at least require states to opt in to them. A bill like the one outlined above would deliver real relief to millions of Americans who are paying unthinkably high health insurance premiums for benefits they can rarely claim because the deductibles on their insurance plans are so high. It would also protect those vulnerable populations that are most in need of public health care assistance including expectant mothers, children, the disabled, and those with pre-existing conditions. "Ideally a final product would put Medicaid on a sustainable fiscal path while minimizing disruptions in care for those currently enrolled in the program. It would take steps towards equalizing the tax treatment of health insurance. And it would find a way to better finance health care for low income Americans and those with pre-existing conditions without disrupting the health care market for the rest of the country." I can't promise the Senate's final product will look exactly like the one sketched out above. But I can promise I will fight as hard as possible to make Obamacare repeal a reality. Protecting Personal Information From Government Intrusion Click here to watch video Issue in Focus: Fighting for Family Flexibility Every working American wishes their paycheck was bigger. But for working parents, sometimes time is more valuable than money. Sometimes being there for that doctor's appointment, baseball game, or parent-teacher's conference is worth more than time and a half. And since 1978, hourly-paid government employees have been allowed to choose between taking overtime pay and comp time. If they worked more than 40 hours one week, they could take a bigger paycheck home that week, or bank that time and use it for family priorities when it was needed. But if you work on an hourly basis in the private sector, this practice is illegal. Employers are not allowed to come to an agreement with their employees about how their overtime is used. This double standard needs to end which is why I am so pleased Rep. Martha Roby's (R-AL) "Working Families Flexibility Act" passed the House of Representatives earlier this week. Roby's bill, and a companion bill I introduced in the Senate, allows employers to offer their employees the option of taking comp time or overtime pay, both accrued at one and a half times the overtime hours worked. Employers would not be able to force comp time on their employees and employees would not be able to take comp time whenever they wanted. Instead, the legislation requires employers and employees to come to a written agreement on how and when accrued overtime can be exchanged for comp time. If an employee does not want a comp time option, then they do not have to sign an agreement with their employer allowing them to do so. If an employee wants to cash out all of their accrued time at the traditional overtime rate, they can do so at any time. If an employee has any unused comp time at the end of the year, employers must cash that time out at the traditional overtime rate. Some on the left have made some hysterical claims about the bill, asserting that it "ends the 40-hour work week" or "ends time and a half pay for overtime." As the protections mentioned above make clear, nothing could be further from the truth. The bill maintains all existing employee protections, including the current 40-hour workweek and overtime accrual, and provides additional safeguards to ensure that the choice to use comp time is voluntary. What the bill does do is offer millions of working American families the same flexibility that public sector employees have enjoyed for almost 40 years. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on moving this bill through the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on to the Senate floor, and then to President Trump's desk. Washington, D.C. Office 361A Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C., 20510 Phone: 202.224.5444 Fax: 202.228.1168 Salt Lake City Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building 125 South State, Suite 4225 Salt Lake City, UT 84138 Phone: 801.524.5933 Fax: 801.524.5730 St. George Office of Senator Michael S. Lee 285 West Tabernacle, Suite 200 St. George, UT 84770 Phone: 435.628.5514 This message was intended for: xxx You were added to the system October 2, 2015. For more information please follow the URL below: newsletter.senate.gov/p/isIehoI2N7 Follow the URL below to update your preferences or opt-out: newsletter.senate.gov/p/osIehoI2N7 To unsubscribe from future mailings, send an email to mailto:xxx?Subject=Unsubscribe&body=Please%20remove%20me%20from%20further%20mailings with "Unsubscribe" as the subject line.
May 5, 2017

"to elevate the condition of men--to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life." --Abraham Lincoln

Chairman's Note: Another Step Closer to Repealing Obamacare

Every time I travel back to Utah I hear from constituents who are paying higher and higher premiums every year, now sometimes higher than their mortgage payments. This has to stop. Now more than ever, Republicans need to repeal Obamacare.
 
Just this week, Aetna announced they would be pulling out of Virginia’s Obamacare marketplace entirely, leaving 27 counties in the state with just one health insurance provider.
 
And in Iowa,  Medica, the last Obamacare insurance provider in that state, announced they too would be leaving the marketplace, leaving tens of thousands of Iowans without any health insurance options at all.
 
Ideally, Congress would have repealed Obamacare months ago and both chambers could be working on replacements right now. The initial plan was to have the 2015 repeal bill, which every non-freshman member of the House and Senate already voted for, on President Trump’s desk to sign on Inauguration Day.
 
But for whatever reasons another path was chosen and now five months later the House of Representatives passed a new repeal bill Thursday that will soon be moving to the Senate.
 
Unfortunately that bill contains numerous fatal procedural flaws and much of it will have to be rewritten. In fact, it will probably have to be reenvisoned entirely.
 
Fortunately a diverse group of Republican senators (including moderate and conservative members) have begun working on a new health care framework that can both get 51 votes in the Senate and survive the chambers arcane reconciliation rules.
 
It is still far too early to tell what this group will produce, but the end result could end up being a huge win for the American people.
 
Ideally a final product would put Medicaid on a sustainable fiscal path while minimizing disruptions in care for those currently enrolled in the program. It would take steps towards equalizing the tax treatment of health insurance. And it would find a way to better finance health care for low income Americans and those with pre-existing conditions without disrupting the health care market for the rest of the country. At a minimum this would mean repealing all or most of the Obamacare insurance regulations or at least require states to opt in to them.
 
A bill like the one outlined above would deliver real relief to millions of Americans who are paying unthinkably high health insurance premiums for benefits they can rarely claim because the deductibles on their insurance plans are so high. It would also protect those vulnerable populations that are most in need of public health care assistance including expectant mothers, children, the disabled, and those with pre-existing conditions.

"Ideally a final product would put Medicaid on a sustainable fiscal path while minimizing disruptions in care for those currently enrolled in the program. It would take steps towards equalizing the tax treatment of health insurance. And it would find a way to better finance health care for low income Americans and those with pre-existing conditions without disrupting the health care market for the rest of the country."

I can’t promise the Senate’s final product will look exactly like the one sketched out above. But I can promise I will fight as hard as possible to make Obamacare repeal a reality.

Protecting"Personal Information From Government Intrusion

Click here to watch video

Issue in Focus: Fighting for Family Flexibility

Every working American wishes their paycheck was bigger. But for working parents, sometimes time is more valuable than money. Sometimes being there for that doctor’s appointment, baseball game, or parent-teacher’s conference is worth more than time and a half.
 
And since 1978, hourly-paid government employees have been allowed to choose between taking overtime pay and comp time. If they worked more than 40 hours one week, they could take a bigger paycheck home that week, or bank that time and use it for family priorities when it was needed.
 
But if you work on an hourly basis in the private sector, this practice is illegal. Employers are not allowed to come to an agreement with their employees about how their overtime is used.
 
This double standard needs to end which is why I am so pleased Rep. Martha Roby’s (R-AL) “Working Families Flexibility Act” passed the House of Representatives earlier this week.
 
Roby’s bill, and a companion bill I introduced in the Senate, allows employers to offer their employees the option of taking comp time or overtime pay, both accrued at one and a half times the overtime hours worked.
 
Employers would not be able to force comp time on their employees and employees would not be able to take comp time whenever they wanted. Instead, the legislation requires employers and employees to come to a written agreement on how and when accrued overtime can be exchanged for comp time.
 
If an employee does not want a comp time option, then they do not have to sign an agreement with their employer allowing them to do so.
 
If an employee wants to cash out all of their accrued time at the traditional overtime rate, they can do so at any time.
 
If an employee has any unused comp time at the end of the year, employers must cash that time out at the traditional overtime rate.
 
Some on the left have made some hysterical claims about the bill, asserting that it “ends the 40-hour work week” or “ends time and a half pay for overtime.” As the protections mentioned above make clear, nothing could be further from the truth. The bill maintains all existing employee protections, including the current 40-hour workweek and overtime accrual, and provides additional safeguards to ensure that the choice to use comp time is voluntary.
 
What the bill does do is offer millions of working American families the same flexibility that public sector employees have enjoyed for almost 40 years.
 
I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on moving this bill through the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on to the Senate floor, and then to President Trump’s desk.

Washington, D.C. Office
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20510
Phone: 202.224.5444
Fax: 202.228.1168
Salt Lake City
Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building
125 South State, Suite 4225
Salt Lake City, UT 84138
Phone: 801.524.5933
Fax: 801.524.5730
St. George
Office of Senator Michael S. Lee
285 West Tabernacle, Suite 200
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: 435.628.5514



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