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Pallone Highlights Devastating Impacts of GOP ACA Repeal Bill at Democratic Congressional Hearing

Mar 16, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C.Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) this morning highlighted some of the devastating impacts of the Republican repeal bill at a Congressional Hearing organized by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).  Pallone also blasted House Republicans for refusing to hold a single hearing on their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). His opening statement follows:
Thank you. I’d like to first thank our Democratic Whip, Mr. Hoyer, for scheduling this hearing today. Would you believe this is the first hearing on Capitol Hill on the House Republican Repeal bill! Republicans refuse to hold hearings on this bill because they don’t want the American people to really know what’s in it and how it will affect them.
Fortunately, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its findings earlier this week, confirming what we had heard from other outside experts.  The CBO’s findings are devastating.
Fourteen million people would lose their health coverage next year, and that number would increase to 24 million in ten years.  Today, the number of uninsured is at a record low thanks to the Affordable Care Act.  The Republican Repeal Bill would erase all of those gains.  
We really should call this bill “Ryan Hood” – Robin Hood in reverse.  CBO found that the Republican Repeal bill would cut $880 billion over the next ten years from Medicaid all in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich.  That’s a 25 percent cut in Medicaid.  Today, one in five Americans receives health coverage from the Medicaid program.  It finances more than half of all births and 70 percent of all nursing home residents rely on Medicaid.  If these drastic cuts go into effect, how are states going to continue these critical services?  They won’t.   
The Republican repeal bill would also institute an age tax, which would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more than their children.  How are older Americans supposed to afford that when they’re trying to save for retirement?  CBO’s conclusion – older and sicker Americans simply will go without health insurance.  That’s unacceptable to me, and to my Democratic colleagues.
The Republican repeal bill also doesn’t protect people with pre-existing conditions like the ACA does.  Protections only apply to those who maintain continuous coverage.  If someone has a lapse in coverage, insurance companies can charge a person a 30 percent sick tax on top of their premium.  People who have pre-existing conditions are more likely to go without coverage for a period of time when they’re sick – and this penalty would hit them hard.
Finally, all Americans will pay more for less.  CBO projects that out-of-pocket costs will skyrocket because insurance plans will have few if any limitations on the level of deductibles and copays.  Simply put, Americans will not be able to afford their healthcare.
Mr. Whip, as I said, the only people who benefit from this bill are the wealthiest few.  It should never come to the House Floor for a vote.  I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today, and thank you again for holding this hearing.