Weekly Columns

When the Senate voted to pass the budget resolution, it began the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare. Understandably, the American people want to know what’s next, what to expect and if they will have health care coverage.

The budget resolution was the first of several steps that Congress will take to keep our promise to repeal and replace this failed law. Obamacare has driven up costs, busted our budget, stifled job growth and raised taxes on hardworking Arkansans. It has created more problems than it solves and it has to go. In doing so, I am committed to working with my colleagues to establish a careful and orderly transition to a patient-centered health care system that truly is affordable, not just in name but in practice, and actually works for the American people.

I understand the problems with our health care system firsthand. For 25 years, I practiced optometry and operated a clinic with my brother in Arkansas. My experiences, as both a health care practitioner and clinic owner, led me to understand that there is a right way and a wrong way to address the systemic issues that plague our healthcare system. Obamacare is the wrong way.

There are pieces of the President’s law that I support, such as covering pre-existing conditions and allowing parents the option to cover an older child until they are able to afford their own health care insurance. However, the bad far outweighs the good. There are many ways to address these problems that don’t require trillions in deficit spending. You can be assured that our replacement will strive to meet those goals.

Those concerns are among the most frequent voiced by Americans nervous about what the future holds for their health care, but they also, understandably, want to know what new policy directives an Obamacare replacement will include. 

I will be working with my colleagues to fashion a replacement that transitions the employer-based private insurance market towards one that allows for flexibility, choice, portability and fairness for all. Patients should be in control of their health care decisions and have the flexibility to determine what coverage best fits their needs and those of their family members. 

At the same time, our replacement must drive down health care costs. Obamacare’s fatal flaw is that there is absolutely nothing in the law to control costs. As a result, costs continue to rise unsustainably, erasing any promises of affordable coverage that Obamacare supporters made.

We must embrace market-based reforms that lower healthcare costs. From cross-state insurance purchases and healthcare co-operatives to medical malpractice reform and medical record modernization initiatives, it is critical that we implement responsible reforms. Moreover, we must preserve and protect the role of patients, providers and physicians as the principle healthcare decision-makers, not the federal government.

Americans are rightfully concerned about what comes next. I can’t stress enough that we won't leave people in the lurch. We won’t pull the rug out from under them. Instead, we will empower Americans with this type of free-market approach so that we can bring real reform to our health care system. 

It is time for us to come together and find commonsense solutions to our challenges. America functions best when we work through our differences and tackle our country's problems. Moving forward, I am committed to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reform our healthcare system so it makes sense for all Americans.