New Democrat Coalition Speaks Out Against the GOP AHCA Bill

Mar 9, 2017
Press Release

The New Democrat Coalition Members, including several Members on the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees, spoke out against the fiscally irresponsible GOP American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill. 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 absurd that fiscally conservative House Republicans are putting forward a major piece of legislation without having a budget and analysis done. The GOP American Health Care Act means less coverage, fewer protections, and higher costs for Americans. It is fiscally irresponsible to vote on a bill that will raise health costs on the middle class, eviscerate families’ coverage, and push millions of people out of health coverage of any kind,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Jim Himes.


“I am deeply disappointed that House Republican leadership is pushing forward with a bill to repeal the ACA that lacks transparency, debate, and any information about what it will cost American taxpayers. What is clear about the bill is that it will put Medicare in jeopardy, raise insurance premiums for Wisconsinites, jeopardize access to care in rural areas, and result in loss of coverage for thousands of people,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Emeritus Ron Kind.


“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. But what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have put forward would make working families, seniors, children and people with disabilities foot the bill for their poorly conceived experiment,” New Democrat Coalition Vice-Chair Suzan DelBene said. “Instead of making smart reforms to ensure all Americans have access to affordable health coverage, Republicans are forcing people to pay more for less. This certainly isn’t ‘insurance for everybody,’ as the President promised.”


“I voted against today’s GOP repeal bill for one simple reason: it would raise health costs for working families and struggling Americans while decreasing their quality of coverage,” said New Democrat Coalition Vice-Chair Terri Sewell. “My constituents work hard to provide for their families, and additional health costs jeopardize their access to care. The Republican health bill would bankrupt low-income families and the rural hospitals that depend on their access to care by eliminating income-based support for health coverage, slashing Medicaid, and erasing preventative care coverage. The amendments I offered today would have protected rural and minority Americans from increased health costs and growing health disparities. Without those safeguards for working families, and with no estimate yet for this bill’s cost, I could not in good conscience vote for this legislation.”


“This proposal has been called Obamacare-light because it holds on to a number of the advantages of Obamacare: on your parents’ [insurance] until 26, lifetime caps, pre-existing conditions. [..] But if it’s Obamacare-light, I would agree it’s light on a few things. It’s light on public deliberation. It’s light on funding. It’s light on fiscal responsibility. It’s light on preventative care. It’s light on mental health coverage. And it’s just lightweight. And I think we can do better. I stand here willing and ready to work in a bipartisan way to really address today’s market conditions in a way that would really provide more access to affordable care for all Americans. This doesn’t do the job,” said New Democrat Coalition Leadership Member Rep. Scott Peters.


“As a doctor, putting patients first must be at the center of any health care reform,” Rep. Bera said. “This is a bill that will take coverage away from millions of people and increase the cost of health care for those who need it most, leaving older, vulnerable people behind,” said New Democrat Coalition Health Care Task Force Co-Chair Ami Bera. “It would penalize unemployed workers, block funding for Planned Parenthood and disrupt health care for low-income Americans. I am disappointed that after seven years, all we have is a partisan proposal that does not lower the cost of care or improve access.”


 “How can we seriously consider a bill without knowing the real-world effect it would have on our economy, our pocket books, and most importantly, our constituent’s health care? In 2009, a CBO score on the ACA was available to members of the committee before they voted on the bill. My friends across the aisle seem so adamant to force this hastily written bill through that they won’t even allow us to ask for a delay. Knowing the CBO score on such major legislation is something my friends on the other side of the aisle who claim to be fiscally conservative should care about. Forcing a vote without knowing the real world effect is reckless and just wrong,” said New Democrat Coalition Health Care Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Kurt Schrader.


 “It’s clear why Republicans in the House felt it necessary to keep this Affordable Care Act repeal plan hidden behind lock and key. Their proposal would increase costs, limit access, and cover fewer Americans. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, and I’m willing to work with Republicans and Democrats to improve the law, but not at the expense of the healthcare of thousands of Granite Staters and millions of Americans nationwide,” said New Democrat Coalition Health Care Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Annie Kuster.


“Republicans had seven years to lay out their promised ‘better way.’ Yet they chose to shield their repeal bill from public view, until just 40 hours before pushing that bill forward. I said ‘I’d hoped’ Republicans wouldn’t do it this way. But really, I didn’t actually believe they’d do it this way,” said Energy & Commerce Committee Member Eliot Engel. “Like me, I think Republicans will look back on their work today and ask themselves, ‘How did we do?’ They gave Americans less than two days to evaluate a bill that will radically restructure the Medicaid program…shift trillions of dollars onto states, forcing them to ration care…and rip health coverage away from 30 million people.”


“This bill is cheating the American people. It demands they pay more for less coverage. And at the end of the day, it’s going to hurt the pocketbooks of hard-working Americans and it’s going to hurt our economy. We will continue to fight for Americans’ right to affordable healthcare,” said Energy & Commerce Committee Member Tony Cardenas.