Louise Line: The Conservatives' Health Care Plan
For nearly a decade, I believe that the conservative Majority in Congress wasted millions of dollars in legislative time at taxpayers’ expense by voting more than 60 times to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a thing in the world to replace it with. Last week, they finally let their colleagues and the American people see their proposed ACA replacement. Sadly, it follows the typical Washington conservative playbook by giving wealthy people billions of dollars in tax breaks while skyrocketing the costs of healthcare for everyone else.
I am concerned that the Majority’s plan would force the American public to pay more for worse coverage, if they could afford that coverage at all. One recent report by the New York Department of Health found that the Majority’s proposal would cause a million New Yorkers to lose their coverage and cost our state billions. These are unconscionable numbers. The Majority’s bill would also defund Planned Parenthood, a critical organization that provides quality, comprehensive, and preventative care services to more than 2.5 million men and women across the country every year.
What I believe to be the most shocking is the Majority’s decision to rush this bill through the House without holding a single hearing, which strips experts, doctors, and those with illnesses from being able to testify and offer their take on this plan.
To make matters worse, this week’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report found that the Majority’s proposal would cause 24 million people across the country to lose their health insurance over the next ten years. That number doesn’t even reflect the millions more who would be left with worse coverage and fewer benefits at a higher cost. Although the conservatives are claiming otherwise, the CBO is non-partisan, objective, and unbiased.
Here’s what I believe: the Majority’s plan would take the American people back to a time before the Affordable Care Act, when the public was left to fend for themselves without any proper safeguards in place to protect them from big insurance company discrimination against pre-existing conditions, skyrocketing premiums, or gender biases. This is a dangerous path and one that I believe Congress must resist. I was proud to bring the Affordable Care Act to the floor of the House of Representatives in 2009 as Chairwoman of the Rules Committee and have been encouraged by the great strides we have made under this landmark law. From protecting Americans from falling into medical bankruptcy to ensuring that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage, this law has improved the lives of millions of people. Congress should be improving it, not eviscerating it.
It’s no wonder everyone from the American Hospital Association to the AARP has already come out against this bill. We must not allow the gains made under the Affordable Care Act to be squandered by Washington conservatives who are only looking to fulfill partisan agendas and reward special interests while shifting costs and burdens onto the sick and the elderly.
Instead, I will continue to fight to protect and improve the Affordable Care Act because I believe that all Americans deserve high-quality, affordable healthcare.