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MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP >> Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), in a statement released on March 19, said he cannot supporting the American Health Care Act being proposed by the Trump Administration and the Republican leadership in the House.

“The Affordable Care Act is broken in many areas and desperately needs to be fixed or replaced with a system that works better for everyone,” he said. “Premiums continue to skyrocket, deductibles are soaring, and insurers are opting out of exchanges. Moreover, competition is increasingly limited in the insurance markets; one-third of the counties in the United States have access to only one insurance provider, and five states have only one provider. Last year, premiums in Pennsylvania rose on average by roughly 33 percent. This trajectory is unsustainable. If we accept the status quo, our healthcare system will collapse and all of us will suffer as a result.”

Fitzpatrick said, “We urgently need a patient-centered, integrated healthcare model that provides individuals the freedom of choice, physicians the freedom to practice, and those with chronic disease, addiction or illness the freedom to live their lives knowing they have access to quality, affordable healthcare.

”I have spent countless hours in these first two months analyzing this problem, listening to and meeting with constituents of all viewpoints, speaking with local officials, and learning the stories of patients, physicians, industry professionals and representatives of almost every stakeholder engaged in healthcare reform.”

He continued, “After considering the current healthcare bill in a thorough and deliberate manner, I have concluded that, although the American Health Care Act focuses on several much-needed reforms to our healthcare system, in its current form I cannot support this legislation. I have many concerns with this bill, and first among them is the impact on the single most important issue plaguing Bucks and Montgomery counties, and the issue that I have made my priority in Congress: opioid abuse prevention, treatment and recovery.

“I commend both the administration and House Leadership for focusing our nation’s attention on reforming our broken healthcare model. I am continuing my discussions with House leadership, urging them to address our concerns and to develop solutions based upon transparency and free-market principles to drive down healthcare costs and expand access to all,” he said. “It is important to note that this bill is one of several reform measures being considered, and many more bills will surely follow. It is incumbent upon all elected officials, at every level of government, to take our time and to get this right. Healthcare is far too important and we must not settle for anything less.”

Fitzpatrick added, “As we continue working to reform and improve our healthcare system, please continue to let your voices be heard. I am listening intently and want all district residents to be involved in this process. At every turn, we must listen to each other, respect each other, and put our country first — always. No exceptions.”

Fitzpatrick launched a Health Care Listening Tour in early February comprising of sit-down meetings and listening sessions with patients, physicians, industry professionals, and local stakeholders on health care reform. He continues to actively solicit constituent input regarding the future of healthcare. His deliberate approach seeks to compare current policy with new proposals that advance the progress of healthcare in America.

As member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, Fitzpatrick testified earlier this month before a House Appropriations subcommittee to urge for robust funding authorized by CARA and the 21st Century Cures Act in order to help communities combat the opioid epidemic.

Additionally, he has advocated for increased access to healthcare and medical treatments, including speaking out in support of removing barriers to care for the terminally ill Americans. He has also called for the doubling women’s health funding at the National Institutes of Health from $4 billion to $8 billion.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick is serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of the Homeland Security, Small Business and Foreign Affairs committees. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th District which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He is a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

This article originally ran on buckslocalnews.com.

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