Louise Line: The Disastrous Health Care Plan
For nearly a decade, the Republican 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 Republican playbook by giving wealthy people billions of dollars in tax breaks while skyrocketing the costs of healthcare for everyone else.
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 found that the Republican plan would cause a million New Yorkers to lose their coverage and cost our state 4.5 billion over the next four years alone. These are unconscionable numbers. The Republicans’ 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.
Perhaps 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 Republican 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 Republicans are claiming otherwise, the CBO is non-partisan, objective, and unbiased. They have confirmed what many experts and those in the industry have said from the beginning – that the Republican repeal bill would give a tax break to the wealthy and leave families struggling to afford coverage.
Here’s what we do know: the Republican 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 we 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 helping to insure 20 million people and 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. We 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 Republicans who are only looking to fulfill partisan campaign promises 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.