Commentary: WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), and First Vice Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) released the following statements today in light of markups beginning in House committees on the GOP’s replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act.
“After seven years of planning, the Republican replacement to the Affordable Care Act does nothing to address the health care needs for working people,”Rep. Keith Ellison said, “In fact, it hurts nearly all working Americans by gutting Medicaid, defunding Planned Parenthood, stripping protections and benefits and increasing costs. At the same time, it provides a huge handout to the wealthy and insurance corporations. Which begs the question: who exactly are the Republicans trying to help with this legislation?”
“The Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act achieves exactly what its authors intended – it ends affordable healthcare,” Rep. Grijalva said.“Seniors will no longer be protected from price gouging the way they are under the ACA; insurers would be able to charge the oldest Americans five times as much as the youngest Americans, and estimates on premium spikes for a 64-year-old are as high as $10,600. The Medicaid expansion that has helped cover millions of low-income individuals and families will be financially capped in 2020, and left to wither on the vine as the costs of living – and the costs of life-saving medicine – continue to rise. Perhaps worst of all, this plan allows insurers to impose a 30 percent premium surcharge to anyone who does not maintain continuous coverage. Because this fee is only triggered when an individual wants to reenter the insurance market, it creates a strong disincentive for anyone in good health who does not have insurance to ever get coverage. Fewer people in the system will simply mean higher premiums for everyone.
“This isn’t a plan to improve public health; it’s a scheme to give millionaires and billionaires tax breaks at the expense of the poor and the sick. It took our nation generations to finally recognize medical health as an inalienable right, and less than two months into the Trump presidency, Republicans are already hard at work turning it back into a commodity. This bill doesn’t just fail at providing affordable coverage to the American people – it betrays the very intent to help those who need it most.”
“The Republicans’ replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act will reduce the quality and accessibility of health care for seniors and working families,” Rep. Pocan said. “This plan would cut and cap Medicaid, defund Planned Parenthood, and raise health care costs, particularly for older and sicker Americans. It gives massive tax cuts for rich health care CEOs and corporations. Republicans promised that their health care plan would lower costs and people wouldn’t lose their coverage, but this plan actually makes health care more expensive and could kick millions of Americans off their health insurance.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.