Healthcare is the big issue in Washington. Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish says federal lawmakers are heading in the right direction of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. He says they can’t leave Obamacare as it is because it’s driving up premiums and people are losing coverage.

“We cannot leave Obamacare as it is because it has imploded. It’s just continuing to kick people off insurance. Nobody can afford what they have right now. It’s a mess, and we need to fix it,” Abraham said.

One of Governor John Bel Edwards’ biggest concerns with the replacement plan is losing Medicaid expansion. Abraham says most of the people on Medicaid are working people whose employers don’t offer insurance and who can’t afford it on their own. He says boosting the economy would resolve this.

“Once we get the employers involved, we get money coming back into the businesses, then most people will come off the Medicaid expansion and get into an employer based insurance, and this is exactly where we want to go with this,” Abraham said.

Abraham says the bill is still in its early form with a long way to go, but he’s certain about some changes that are coming. He says rolling back the taxes created under Obamacare will be one of those changes. He says eliminating the individual and employer mandates is also a key goal for the GOP.

“I want everyone to have access to healthcare, and you’ll see that in the Republican bill. But we’re not going to mandate, as Obamacare did, that you have to buy insurance. We will give everybody access to a plan that they can afford,” Abraham said.

Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says his biggest concern with the current Affordable Care Act is that it’s unaffordable. He says it’s the largest tax increase in US history. He says another issue is the limited access to physicians.

“It has prevented access to care rather than improving it. In fact, those that are on the Medicaid expansion only have access to about 10% of healthcare providers. The other thing is millions lost their plans, lost their doctors,” Graves said.

Graves says in the House replacement bill, the individual mandate will be removed, and citizens will no longer be fined for not having coverage. He says he also hopes to see policies that prevent medication costs from skyrocketing. He says after Obamacare, some companies increased the cost of their drugs by 100%.

“We can’t allow those sorts of ridiculous things to happen, those costs where the United States citizens pay multiple times more for drugs than in Canada, Europe, and other countries,” Graves said.