May 05, 2017

New Democrat Coalition Speaks Out Against the GOP Health Care Bill

The New Democrat Coalition Members, including several Members on the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees, spoke out against the health care bill House Republicans passed that is dead on arrival in the Senate. Reps. Suzan DelBene, Ron Kind, and Terri Sewell sit on the Ways and Means Committee and Reps. Tony Cardenas, Eliot Engel, Scott Peters, and Kurt Schrader sit on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Today, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and President Trump have turned their backs on the American people and the people of Connecticut. The bill passed today gives an enormous tax cut to the wealthiest Americans by making insurance much harder, or even impossible, to get for poor or sick individuals or families, and making whatever insurance may be available to them worse. If this bill were to become law, we would see an estimated 24 million Americans, possibly many more, thrown off their insurance. Americans will live sicker. Americans will die sooner,” said New Dem Chair Jim Himes.

“Never before in our nation’s history has a Congress and Administration offered a health care reform bill that instead of lowering the uninsured rate actually increases the number of uninsured individuals by 24 million people. That is because this is a large tax cut bill for the wealthiest paid for by kicking 24 million people off their healthcare coverage. It will allow critical protections for people with pre-existing conditions to be taken away, lead to skyrocketing premiums for older Wisconsinites, and put Medicare four years closer to going bankrupt. Instead of rushing forward a bill, without any hearings or cost estimate, we need to recognize what works in healthcare, fix what doesn’t, and seek to lower healthcare costs for all Americans,” said New Dem Chair Emeritus & Ways and Means Committee Member Ron Kind.

“This destructive legislation has gone from bad to worse,” New Dem Vice-Chair & Ways and Means Committee Member Suzan DelBene said. “Leaving 24 million Americans without coverage and the 133 million Americans without protections for pre-existing conditions isn’t just wrong — it’s inhumane. As I’ve heard from hundreds of constituents, nobody should face bankruptcy just to afford the medical care they need to stay alive. I hope the Senate has the courage and wisdom to stop this ill-conceived legislation before it destabilizes our healthcare system. American families deserve certainty and stability, not more chaos and confusion,”

“The passage of today’s healthcare repeal bill was a tragic case of Republican leadership putting politics over people.” said New Dem Vice-Chair & Ways and Means Committee Member Terri Sewell. “The GOP rushed this bill through the House without pausing to get a full estimate of what it will cost or how many lives it will impact. That’s legislative malpractice. I voted against TrumpCare because we know it will drive healthcare prices up for working families all while lowering the quality of coverage they receive. I opposed this bill because it will force older Americans to pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, while at the same time shortening the life of the Medicare Trust Fund that many seniors depend on. I voted no because TrumpCare will gut essential health benefits, and because my constituents deserve better. Today’s bill is a disaster for Alabama and a raw deal for the American people.”

 “This vote takes us one step closer to going back to a system where families go bankrupt over an unexpected illness and our emergency rooms are filled with mothers seeking basic care for their children. I’ve opposed this reckless healthcare repeal bill every step of the way because it will rip coverage away from millions of Americans, increase out-of-pocket costs for working families and seniors, and undermine protections for many Americans with pre-existing conditions,” said New Dem Leadership Member & Energy and Commerce Committee Member Rep. Scott Peters. “There are real steps we can take together to fix what’s not working in our healthcare system. Instead, today the House passed a bill that is opposed by doctors, nurses, hospitals, patients, and seniors because it would make the problems in our healthcare system worse, not better. But this is not over. I will keep fighting to stop this terrible plan from becoming law and get to work on real healthcare reform to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for American families.”


“While the House Republicans celebrate at the White House, millions of hardworking Americans are worrying about whether they will be able to stay on their health care plans. I don’t want to go back to a time when my patients would have to make health care decisions based on their insurance coverage, and this bill is going to make it a lot harder for people with treatable diseases like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and survivors of cancer and assault to get health care,” said New Dem Health Care Task Force Co-Chair Ami Bera. “We cannot play politics with people’s lives, and what happened today put political goals ahead of the lives of hardworking Americans. The fact that this bill was rushed through with no budget analysis or public debate shows just how bad it is. This is a sad day for America’s patients, and for the public’s trust in Congress.”

“I’m at a loss for words, frankly,” said Rep. Schrader. “This is a bad piece of legislation that is going to strip healthcare from millions of people, dramatically hike up premiums for everyone, and cost taxpayers everywhere more money. Not to mention it cuts one of the most important pieces of Obamacare: protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” said New Dem Health Care Task Force Co-Chair & Energy and Commerce Committee Member Rep. Kurt Schrader. “Meanwhile, in Oregon, hundreds of thousands are going to lose their health care because this bill severely cuts low income folks’ access to coordinated care on Oregon Health Plan. The bottom line is this is a terrible bill that is going to do so much more harm than good for every Oregonian and every American. Today, political rhetoric trumped what’s best for the American people.”

“Today Republicans in the House put politics ahead of the wellbeing of millions of Americans and thousands of people throughout New Hampshire,” said New Dem Health Care Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Annie Kuster. “The American Health Care Act threatens access to healthcare for hardworking families, removes protections for those with pre-existing conditions, increases costs for seven million veterans and Americans over 50 years old, and jeopardizes our response to the opioid addiction epidemic that is impacting communities nationwide. I’m extremely disappointed that my colleagues were so steadfast in their determination to appease the most extreme elements of their party that they disregarded the voices of their constituents. I’ve consistently expressed my willingness to work with Republicans and Democrats to improve our healthcare system for all Americans, but this misguided legislation is not the answer. I hope that as the seriously damaging elements of this bill become more clear the Senate will come together in bipartisan opposition to the AHCA.”

“The version of Trumpcare that passed today is, shockingly, even worse than its predecessor: it guts protections for those with preexisting conditions, allowing insurers to once again discriminate against people based on their health status. It lets states eliminate essential health benefits, resulting in paltry plans that cover very little. And it gives insurers free rein to levy an unlimited ‘age tax’ on older Americans,” said Energy & Commerce Committee Member Eliot Engel. “In a pathetic attempt to placate worried constituents, Republicans added $8 billion to their plan at the last minute to help cover those with pre-existing conditions. But estimates suggest that this eleventh-hour addition constitutes a mere fraction of what’s needed. No matter what the Republicans say, millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions are still left without the protections they need under Trumpcare. This change is too little, too late.”

 “Today the Republicans voted for a bill that does the exact opposite of what they claim. They claim that it will reduce premiums – it will not. They claim that more people will have healthcare – that is not true. They say that it will protect people with pre-existing conditions – that is a lie. This legislation strips healthcare coverage from 24 million Americans, puts an age-tax on seniors, defunds Planned Parenthood, and gives a massive tax break to millionaires and billionaires. This bill puts us on a road of economic disaster and will hurt working families,” said Energy & Commerce Committee Member Tony Cardenas.