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E&C Dems Urge Chairman Walden to Hold Hearing on AHCA in Light of Startling CBO Report

Mar 17, 2017
Press Release

All 24 Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats sent a letter to Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today to request a hearing on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in order for members of the Committee to hear directly from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the impacts of the bill on the health and financial security of all Americans. 

A hearing with CBO is even more important now that House Republicans are reportedly making major changes to the bill.  Committee members and the public deserve to hear CBO’s expertise on how those changes would also impact the American people before any vote occurs on the House floor. 

“On multiple occasions, Democrats on this Committee have urged you to slow this process down and hold hearings in order to properly understand the serious impacts of ACA repeal on Americans’ health and on our healthcare system,” Democrats wrote to Chairman Walden.  “We write to you again to request a hearing on AHCA, with CBO as a witness, to learn more about CBO’s important findings.  The findings detailed in the report are deeply concerning, and we remain troubled that AHCA has advanced from this Committee without proper deliberation on the effects that it will have on the American people.” 

Earlier this week, CBO released a report detailing the impacts of passing the AHCA including:

  • 24 million Americans will lose their health insurance over the next decade;
  • 14 million low-income Americans will lose Medicaid coverage;
  • $880 billion cut to Medicaid, which is 25 percent of the program’s funding;
  • Premiums for older Americans will increase significantly.  According to CBO, a 64-year old with an annual income of $26,500 would see their premium costs rise from $1,700 annually under current law to $14,600;
  • Premium assistance for low-income Americans will be significantly smaller than under current law.  According to CBO, a 21-year old with an annual income at 175 percent of the federal poverty line in 2026 would be eligible for $3,400 under current law, but would only be eligible for $2,450 under the AHCA;
  • The average subsidy under the AHCA will be about 60 percent of the average subsidy under current law;
  • Deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses in the individual market will increase under the AHCA due to the elimination of requirements that insurance plans cover a certain value.

Committee Democrats also expressed concern in the letter that certain members of Congress and the Trump Administration have attempted to undermine confidence in CBO and to diminish its credibility.  The letter notes that members on both sides of the Committee have continually relied on CBO’s nonpartisan analysis to inform policymaking and that a hearing would allow CBO an opportunity to publicly explain its methodology and to defend itself against unfair characterizations.

The full letter to Chairman Walden can be found here.

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