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Rep. Chu Decries "Heartless" ACA Repeal Vote

May 4, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today voted 217-212 to pass H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Initial estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the underlying legislation will take away coverage from 24 million Americans over the next decade, including seven million Americans currently covered by their employers. The bill cuts $838 billion from Medicaid, and will dramatically increase out-of-pocket costs, particularly for lower-income families and older Americans. An "age tax" imposed on those ages 50-64 will force this age group to pay up to five times as much as a younger person for coverage. It also completely defunds Planned Parenthood for one year, further restricting low-income women’s access to affordable healthcare for pregnancy tests, cancer screening, and family planning. All of these cuts to middle class Americans’ health care are used to finance a $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest families, insurance companies, and insurance executives. The version that passed today was amended to allow states to create high risk pools instead of requiring insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions. Rather than protecting those with pre-existing conditions, high-risk pools leave sick people vulnerable to skyrocketing costs, long waiting lists, and annual or lifetime caps.  The bill also allows states to opt out of requirements to cover essential health benefits, like doctor and emergency room visits, mental health services, and prescription drugs. Rep. Chu voted against the bill and released the following statement:

“I am incredibly saddened and outraged that Republicans ignored the expressed opposition from doctors, hospitals, patient advocates, health experts and even members of their own party to pass this heartless bill. It is unconscionable to me that they would charge ahead with – and then celebrate – a vote that they know will force millions off their insurance and raise prices for people with preexisting conditions. Worse, their rush to vote on this bill meant there wasn’t even time for the Congressional Budget Office to score the fiscal and human costs of the final version. The haste to act and then immediately hop on a bus to the White House shows that they were more concerned with helping Trump keep a campaign promise than with actually improving healthcare.

“This bill will have serious consequences for the people of California in particular. One provision of this bill would deny subsidies to any healthcare plan that covers abortion. Meaning that in California, where all plans are required to cover abortion, healthcare costs will rise astronomically because Californians will be ineligible for tax credits. This bill also threatens to kick 7 million veterans off their insurance, shortens the life of Medicare, allows people aged 50-64 to be charged 5 times more than young people, and eliminates coverage for 24 million Americans, including nearly 2 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country. It defunds Planned Parenthood for one year, and would once again allow being a rape or domestic violence victim to be a pre-existing condition. This bill creates a  'women’s tax' that would permit insurance companies to charge women more than men for essential coverage like pregnancy. Trumpcare would cut $838 billion from Medicaid, endangering care for individuals with disabilities, low-income children, and seniors in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In the midst of the worst opioid epidemic our nation has ever seen, it rips mental health and addiction services away from those who need it most. Trumpcare does all this while giving the 400 richest families in America an annual tax break of $2.8 million.

“As we have said in the past, Democrats remain willing and eager to work to improve the Affordable Care Act. But this was not an improvement. This was a cruel attack on vulnerable Americans, especially those with preexisting conditions. An improvement is a plan that will increase access for all Americans, keep costs down, and ensure that being sick or a woman or a senior is not an excuse to be denied coverage.”