New Democrat Coalition on the Cancelled Vote for the GOP Health Care Bill

Mar 27, 2017
Press Release

The New Democrat Coalition Members, including several Members on the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees, spoke out after the health care bill was pulled from the House Floor last week.  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.

“It’s no surprise that the Republican health care bill was pulled from the House Floor by Speaker Ryan. Members on both sides of the aisle agree that we cannot deny Americans access to affordable health care. As the non-partisan CBO revealed, this bill would have taken away health care from millions of hard-working Americans,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Jim Himes. “New Democrats will not stop fighting for access to affordable health care for their constituents and we will not shy away from creating space for their voices to be heard.”

“It is clear that House Republican leadership is trying to force a bad bill. Instead of rushing forward a bill, without any hearings, I hope they use this time to recognize what works in healthcare and work in a bipartisan manner to fix what doesn’t and lower healthcare costs for all Americans,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Emeritus Ron Kind.

“If Republicans crafted legislation that lived up to the promise of ‘insurance for everybody’ at lower cost, they would have broad support for their efforts. But it’s clear this bill left middle-class families, seniors, women and people with disabilities far worse off. Allowing 24 million Americans to go uncovered is just wrong,” New Democrat Coalition Vice-Chair Suzan DelBene said. “Since coming to Congress, I have worked tirelessly to find commonsense fixes to our nation’s healthcare laws. We should build upon the reforms we’ve already made to expand coverage and reduce costs — this bill did none of that. Instead, most Americans would have ended up paying more for less, while millions more would find coverage completely out of reach. I’m relieved we were able to stop this dangerous legislation before it completely destabilized our nation’s healthcare system.”

 “Our access to care is a fundamental right, not a privilege, and I will continue to oppose any legislation that takes that right away from millions of Americans. I believe America’s greatest resource is our people, and we cannot succeed if our people do not have the security that comes with knowing if a family member gets sick, treatment doesn’t have to come at the cost of financial ruin,” said New Democrat Coalition Vice-Chair Terri Sewell.  “From the creation of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, to the GI Bill, Congress has long recognized the importance of our healthcare safety-net and has worked tirelessly to protect it. This week’s healthcare repeal effort was a disappointing abdication of that commitment. I hope that my Republican colleagues will come back to the table to work on crafting legislation that strengthens healthcare for all Americans.”

“I’m proud that so many Americans – including thousands of the people I represent in San Diego – made their voices heard and urged their representatives to oppose this healthcare repeal. It’s largely because of this pressure that this bill was pulled before it even received a vote. I appreciate my constituents speaking up at town halls and through calls and emails to my office to encourage me to keep fighting to improve our healthcare system,” said New Democrat Coalition Leadership Member Rep. Scott Peters. “Congress ended up with this mess because Republican leadership never reached out to Democrats to hear our input or ask for our votes. That’s why we were left with a proposal opposed by doctors, nurses, hospitals, and just about everyone. We can do better than this. With this disaster of a bill dead and buried, I hope that we can get to work – together – on real reforms to make healthcare more accessible and more affordable for the American people.”

“This bill would have kicked millions of hardworking Americans off of their health care, raised the cost of coverage for families, and imposed an age tax on our parents and grandparents. I hope that after cancelling this vote, the Speaker and the majority will hear loud and clear that playing politics with peoples’ health care is not going to work. Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans to come together, because the job isn’t over until every American has affordable and accessible healthcare. Real lives are at stake here and I’m ready to get to work,” said New Democrat Coalition Health Care Task Force Co-Chair Ami Bera.

“I guess I am not really surprised that the Republican ACA repeal bill was not even brought to a vote,” said Rep. Schrader. “It’s easy to throw bombs. Governing is tough. We had months of hearings and public engagement on the ACA. They try to cram repeal through within a couple of weeks, without even letting members read the bill? So hypocritical. The ACA has helped hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who, before it went into effect, could only dream of health care. And it has led to a transformation in Oregon’s health care delivery system. Now we’re able to focus on an individual’s whole health needs, which will bring down costs now and for future generations,” said New Democrat Coalition Health Care Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Kurt Schrader. “Individual health insurance only makes up five percent of the market. While the ACA improved individual insurance, a lot of people in that market need some help. Let's put our focus there. We can make that fix while preserving all of the benefits we currently enjoy. Let's get real and solve this problem together.”

“This was a bad bill. It was wrong for New Hampshire and wrong for the country. It was harmful to families, older Americans, veterans, seniors, and many other people who simply would be kicked off their health insurance. Now the real work starts. We need to bring together Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to improve our healthcare system for all Americans.  I'm ready, I hope my colleagues are too.” said New Democrat Coalition Health Care Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Annie Kuster. “We know that there are some people whose premiums are too high, and I want to make sure that they get the relief they need. But we’ve got to expand healthcare coverage for everyone, not limit it. We must make sure that people get the benefits that they need, and we must make sure that we bend the cost-curve, and bring down the cost of healthcare, so everyone can afford these premiums. That's what we need to do and that's what we will do. Thank you so much for all of your incredible efforts and calls to let Congress know that you expect us to work together for the benefit of all Americans.”

“The American people overwhelmingly opposed Trumpcare, and they made it known to those who represent them in Congress. I am proud to be one of those Representatives who stood up and spoke out against this bad piece of legislation, and I’m encouraged by the engagement and persistence I’ve seen in recent weeks,” said Energy & Commerce Committee Member Eliot Engel. “I hope that today will be a turning point for my Republican colleagues. The Affordable Care Act shepherded tremendous progress. Over 20 million more Americans are insured thanks to the ACA, and important new protections were put in place. We ought to work together to build on that progress, without turning back the clock on people for whom the ACA has been life-saving.”

“This decision is a victory for the American people, especially the millions who have made their voices heard in the past two months. Americans spoke out and the Republicans could not ignore them. It was your words and your stories that made the difference. I hope Republicans finally give up on tearing away healthcare from American families and work with us to make a better, healthier America. We fought hard for today’s outcome, and I know that everyday forward I’ll have to keep fighting. And I will,” said Energy & Commerce Committee Member Tony Cárdenas.