Rep. Nadler: "Previous Repeal Attempt of Affordable Care Act Wasn't Terrible Enough for Right Wing Republicans, So They Made It Even Crueler"

May 4, 2017 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released the following statement on the Republican legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

"The Republicans have rushed this bill to the floor before they even had a chance to print the text, let alone get a CBO score. They are pushing this bill through without any analysis so that the American people won’t know how terrible this bill really is – how many millions of people will lose their health insurance, how much premiums will skyrocket for those with pre-existing conditions, how little money they will actually save. And all to score empty political points or to impress Donald Trump, a man who has demonstrated again and again that he does not know or care what is in this bill, and just wants to 'win.' 

"This bill is the same terrible legislation the Republicans failed to pass in March, but with amendments to make it even more cruel to the American people. The bill will kick 24 million people off their health insurance and eliminate employer-provided coverage for seven million people. The bill creates an “age tax” that would allow insurers to charge older Americans five times as much as a younger person for the same plan. The bill raises premiums 30 percent for people who allow their insurance to lapse for any reason. The bill cuts $880 billion out of Medicaid and forces states to ration care to the millions of families and children who rely on it, in clear violation of Donald Trump’s campaign pledge. The bill gives the wealthiest Americans a trillion dollar tax cut and cuts taxes on drug companies and health insurance companies that pay their CEOs more than $500,000.

"But that bill wasn’t terrible enough to get the votes of the right wing of the Republicans in the House, so the Republicans made it even crueler. The amendments the Republicans will add today allow states to waive the essential health benefits requirements for insurance plans, meaning you could lose coverage for services as basic as hospital stays, prescription drugs, or doctor visits. States will also be able to waive the guarantee against discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions. Of course, the Republicans are saying that insurance companies cannot deny people coverage, but insurers will be able to charge people whatever they want. The Center for American Progress estimates that premiums could increase by over $36,000 per year for people diagnosed with breast cancer. Pregnancy will result in a $17,000 increase in premiums. Asthma, a $4,000 increase. The high risk pools Republicans are touting will do nothing to protect people by sequestering the sickest Americans in pools and then drastically underfunding them. The Republicans are hiding from these numbers behind the so-called Upton Amendment, which provides a paltry $8 billion to cover some extra costs for those with pre-existing conditions. But even the conservative Mercatus Foundation found that to be less than a pittance compared with the skyrocketing costs for those who need it.

"Every day, we are finding new egregious consequences of this legislation. Last night, the New York Times reported that passing this bill will cut special education programs to over 2500 students with disabilities. Yesterday, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reported that the tax credits Republicans are proposing in this bill will be totally unusable in states like California and New York because of state laws that require coverage of abortion. Reports have come out that sexual assault and domestic violence would, once again, be considered a pre-existing condition, making insurance unaffordable for survivors. The Wall Street Journal reported that the bill could allow employers to reinstate lifetime caps and eliminate out-of-pocket caps for their employees’ insurance plans, leaving the 159 million Americans who get insurance through their employer with no insurance coverage when they need it most. That’s right – if you think that because you don’t buy insurance on the exchange and therefore don’t have to worry about this bill, you’re wrong. I have no doubt that in the time it takes to read this statement another round of articles and reports will come out finding even more abhorrent consequences of this contemptible piece of legislation.
"So I ask my Republican colleagues – who are you passing this bill for? Are you so out of touch with the lives of real Americans that you no longer understand what it means to struggle to pay your medical bills? Have you traveled so far from the values you claim to uphold that you are willing to force parents to watch their children die of curable diseases because they have reached the lifetime cap on covered costs that your bill reinstates, and they can no longer afford to pay for treatment? Are you willing to gamble away their lives and the lives of their children just to say you passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act?

"Shame on any member who votes for this cowardly, cruel bill and tries to sell this bill to their constituents as a win for the American people. Shame on this House for even considering a bill that could leave the most vulnerable in our country – children born with disabilities, women fleeing domestic violence, older Americans too sick to buy insurance but too young to enroll in Medicare – at the mercy of insurance companies and fate. Shame on you for playing political games with people’s lives."