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Matheson defends support of changes to Affordable Care Act

Matheson defends support of changes to Affordable Care Act

(File Photo)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Fourth District Rep. Jim Matheson is defending his support of a House measure that would allow insurance companies to renew individual policies that didn't meet of Affordable Care Act standards.

President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill, but Utah's lone congressional Democrat hopes the Senate will still vote on it.

"A lot of people were under the assumption that if they liked their (health insurance) plan, they got to keep it. I think we ought to make sure that our policy reflects that," Matheson said.

He is one of 39 House Democrats who voted for the measure. Those votes have been described by some media outlets as a sign of growing frustration about the Affordable Care Act rollout from the political left. However, Matheson said he never supported the ACA.

"I voted against it when it came out of the committee on which I serve in the House. I voted against it when it was on the floor of the House, as well," he pointed out.

He believes the ACA doesn't really solve many of the problems the country's health care system has, so he thinks his vote last Friday shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

"In this case, the policy dictated how I voted," he said. "I do think it's unfortunate that we do end up characterizing a lot of the votes in Congress as an ‘us vs. them,' two-dimensional story."

The more you do, the more you make, instead of doing well by the patient.

–Rep. Jim Matheson

Matheson said he'll be frustrated if the House measure doesn't move forward, but he also feels legislators need to continue talks on improving the country's health care system. For instance, he said a lot of procedures that are performed are unnecessary. Doctors do them because they want to protect themselves against malpractice lawsuits. In some cases, he believes doctors perform these procedures simply because they know they get paid based on how many procedures they do.

"The more you do, the more you make, instead of doing well by the patient. The economic incentive is just to do more," he said.

Matheson said the fight over the ACA has been a highly partisan battle, and he believes the partisan fighting may be one of the reasons why Congressional approval ratings are at an all-time low.

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Paul Nelson


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