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Pallone: GOP Repeal Bill is a Disgrace

Mar 8, 2017
Press Release
“We will expose these policies for what they are – a prescription for disaster.”

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following opening remarks today at the full Committee markup of the Republican’s proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA):  

The Republican repeal bill before us will seriously harm American families.  Most people who gained health insurance under the ACA will lose their coverage.  Those who retain health insurance will pay a lot more for less coverage. And states will seriously ration care for those who still have Medicaid.

For seven years Republicans claimed to have a better way.  But it turns out – that is nothing more than an empty slogan.  After seven years of sabotaging and obstructing the ACA, Republicans have finally presented a repeal bill – less than two days ago – that is incredibly destructive to the little guy—for the average working men and women.

I am not a fool.  And neither is the American public.  Throughout the coming days and weeks – Democrats and advocates alike will band together to bring transparency to this process and we will expose the GOP’s policies for what they are – a prescription for disaster. 

Republicans—both the Speaker and our Committee Chairman repeatedly said they would follow regular order.  Not one hearing has been held on their repeal bill.  And we also have not received analysis from CBO.  Regular order would require a hearing and a markup in the Health Subcommittee before we get to the full Committee markup today.

Can Republicans guarantee that the 20 million who have insurance today will continue to have health insurance under their plan?  Clearly not. How many more millions of Americans will lose their health insurance as a result of this bill?  Who will be covered and what will people pay for needed health care?  There’s been no response from the GOP.

Let’s talk about what we do know about the Republican repeal bill. 

With devastating cuts and caps on Medicaid, it will ration care for the 76 million Americans who rely on Medicaid, including seniors with long-term care needs, Americans with disabilities, pregnant women and vulnerable children – virtually ending Medicaid as we know it.

Working families could see their premiums and deductibles increase by hundreds to thousands of dollars. 

Seniors will pay an age tax and be forced to pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health insurance—one reason that AARP came out strongly against the GOP repeal bill yesterday.

The bill also shortens the life of the Medicare Trust Fund, putting the care of 57 million American seniors and people with disabilities at risk.  

The Republican repeal bill will institute a cancer tax and Americans with pre-existing conditions will suffer.  Insurers will once again be able to charge more or discriminate against Americans with pre-existing conditions when their coverage lapses for any reason at all.  

The Republican repeal bill is a giant transfer of wealth.  Taking from hardworking families and giving to the rich.  In fact, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the bill would cut taxes for the rich and corporations by about $600 billion.  So billionaires will benefit, while Republicans dump huge out-of-pocket costs on working families.  Frankly, this is a disgrace.  

Americans today have better health coverage and health care thanks to the Affordable Care Act.  The American people do not want to see it repealed, and Democrats will fight Republicans’ efforts to dismantle the health and economic security of millions of hard-working Americans.

I yield back.

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