Bustos Statement on Trumpcare and Washington Republicans’ Attempt to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

Bustos Urges Bipartisan Cooperation to Improve Health Care for All Americans

WASHINGTON – Today, after reviewing the proposed American Health Care Act – also known as Trumpcare – Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) announced her strong opposition to the legislation:

“I spent a decade of my career working in health care – before, during and after the Affordable Care Act was passed. After seven years of refusing to work in a bipartisan manner to improve the Affordable Care Act, Washington Republicans have now released their bill, which will lead to less coverage, higher costs and fewer protections for the American people.

“Trumpcare undermines the economic security of older Americans and leaves behind millions of hardworking families across the heartland. While the Affordable Care Act helped Illinois’ seniors save $1,000 per year on prescription drug costs, Washington Republicans are proposing an age tax that will charge older Americans five times more for their care.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate in the 17th Congressional District has been cut in half. Additionally, the Medicaid expansion has been a lifeline for many of our rural hospitals and clinics while helping them expand and provide new services and programs to patients in rural Illinois.

“As a former investigative reporter, I’ve also been extremely disturbed by the lack of transparency surrounding Trumpcare. Rather than allowing the American people to fully examine their health care repeal bill, Washington Republicans are attempting to rush it through Congress before it sees the light of day. We still do not know how much the bill will cost taxpayers, how much more older Americans will pay, how much premiums will rise, how many Americans will lose their coverage or how many patients will go bankrupt because of medical bills under Trumpcare.

“While many questions remain about Trumpcare, it’s crystal clear that this bill is a prescription for disaster for older Americans and hardworking families in our heartland.”

BACKGROUND:

As details have trickled out about what Trumpcare would mean for hardworking men and women across America, organizations from a wide range of viewpoints have raised serious concerns about this legislation:

 

AARP:

We write today to express our opposition to the American Health Care Act.  This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64, and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services and supports and other benefits.

 

American Medical Association:

…we cannot support the AHCA as drafted because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations.  As you consider this legislation over the coming days and weeks, we hope that you will keep upmost in your mind the potentially life altering impact your decisions will have on millions of Americans who may see their public, individual or even employer-provided health care coverage changed or eliminated.

 

American Hospital Association:

Any ability to evaluate The American Health Care Act, however, is severely hampered by the lack of coverage estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  Lacking that level of analysis and needed transparency, we urge that Congress should wait until an estimate is available before proceeding with formal consideration.

 

American Diabetes Association:

On behalf of the nearly 30 million Americans living with diabetes and the 86 million more with prediabetes, the American Diabetes Association (Association) is writing to express our serious concerns with the American Health Care Act…we have serious reservations about many of the proposals in this bill. Our initial areas of concern include the tax credit proposal, proposed changes to Medicaid, potential disruption of coverage and repealing the prevention and public health fund.

 

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network:

…reduced federal funding combined with state-specific eligibility and enrollment restrictions will likely result in fewer cancer patients accessing needed health care.  For low-income individuals these changes could be the difference between an early diagnosis when outcomes are better and costs are less or a late diagnosis where costs are higher and survival less likely.

 

American Health Care Association (AHCA)/National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL):

The residents in long term care centers are uniquely vulnerable.  More than one million individuals call nursing centers their home and most rely on Medicaid for their care.  This bill will cut Medicaid funding for seniors and individuals with disabilities, jeopardizing access to the care they need.  We strongly encourage Congress to protect Medicaid access for seniors and people with disabilities in the Obamacare repeal and replace effort.

 

American Public Health Association:

This proposal would jeopardize the health and lives of many millions of Americans…American lives are on the line…It is particularly troubling that legislators plan to consider this proposal without a score from the Congressional Budget Office.  We urge House members to oppose this plan and instead strengthen our nation’s commitment to improving the health and safety of all Americans.

 

National Disability Rights Network:

The legislation revealed by House Republicans last night is a giant step backwards in the treatment and care of individuals with disabilities…It permits discrimination against people with disabilities in the insurance market for their pre-existing conditions…The National Disability Rights Network urges the House not to send people with disabilities back to a time when it was nearly impossible for us to obtain health insurance, live in the home of our choice or participate in community life.  We will never go back to those days.  Never.

 

Easterseals:

Easterseals is greatly concerned that AHCA removes the federal funding guarantee that currently exists in Medicaid.  People with disabilities rely on Medicaid-funded services such as attendant care, adult day and home health services to remain in their homes and communities and live productive lives.

 

National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA):

When people do not have access to the family planning care and education they need, they are more vulnerable to sexually transmitted disease and at a greater risk of unintended pregnancy and poor birth outcomes, all of which have high personal costs and translate into increased expense across the entire health care system. Lawmakers should block this dangerous measure and return to thoughtful, bipartisan deliberation on improving access to affordable, high-quality health care in this country.  There is too much at stake.

 

National Partnership Women and Families:

The Republican repeal bill is an affront to women and families. It reflects its authors’ determination to deny women access to quality, affordable health care, including the comprehensive reproductive health care and abortion services that are essential to their health, equality and economic security… This bill takes us back to the days when there were few benefit standards or consumer protections in place – to a time when insurers were the ones who decided what and who they would cover, what doctors we could see, and where we could get care.

 

National Physicians Alliance:

The National Physicians Alliance opposes the draft Republican House bill revealed last night. We believe the drastic cuts it proposes to Medicaid, coupled with the substantial reductions in subsidies that helped millions afford healthcare would be extremely detrimental to our patients… All the while, the proposed legislation hands millionaires, billionaires and health insurance CEOs a massive new tax break.

 

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH):

We are strongly opposed to the House Obamacare Replacement bill, which would repeal significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the Prevention and Public Health Fund.  Under this plan, millions of people could lose health insurance—a devastating blow to the health of many of our nation’s most vulnerable individuals and families.  Without affordable insurance coverage we will see increased levels of preventable illnesses, injuries and deaths.

 

AFL-CIO:

The reality is, this isn’t a healthcare plan at all.  It’s a massive transfer of wealth from working people to Wall Street.  For more than a century, the labor movement has fought to make health care a right for every American.  The Republican plan contradicts this very idea by making care less affordable and accessible.  It’s bad for healthcare, it’s bad for working families, it’s bad for our economy and we will fully oppose it.

 

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees:

The replacement plan put forward by congressional leadership is no replacement at all for the tens of millions of Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act to keep their families healthy without fear of bankruptcy.  It is simply a tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, funded by gutting Medicaid and shifting health care costs onto states and working families.

 

National Council on Aging (NCOA):

We are also troubled that the legislation gradually eliminates the important Medicaid expansion, which extended health insurance coverage to 11 million adults, including about 1.5 million people aged 55-64, and that it repeals incentives to improve access to Medicaid home and community-based services under the Community First Choice program.

 

National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare:

The ACA is a highly complex piece of legislation that includes many benefit increases for seniors on Medicare, contains many program improvements that help to drive the cost of health care down and extends the solvency of the Part A trust fund.  For these reasons, we strongly believe that any replacement legislation should do no less than the ACA for our senior population.

 

Center for Medicare Advocacy:

The Affordable Care Act expanded health insurance coverage for tens of millions of Americans.  We cannot accept the AHCA plan, which would strip away existing health care and jeopardize Medicare, Medicaid and the states.  The AHCA repeal plan would take us back to the time when families all over the country lacked insurance.

 

Medicare Rights Center:

AHCA creates a tax windfall for the wealthiest Americans at Medicare’s expense.  The law repeals a modest tax increase on only the highest earners that helped put Medicare on strong financial footing, thereby manufacturing a Medicare funding crisis that could be used later in the name of cutting earned Medicare benefits.

 

United Methodist Church:

This bill has been promoted as a “fix” to the health care system in the United States but will do nothing to improve access and affordability. Instead, it will harm many in the congregations and communities in which we live and serve.  People will die because of efforts like this to roll back health care.

 

Catholic Health Association of the United States:

We strongly encourage the full House to reject this ‘replacement’ bill and work to craft legislation that addresses the real issues without creating unneeded chaos in the system and coverage loss for those who need health care.

 

American Federation of Teachers (AFT):

That Republicans are now trying to ram something through after keeping it under lock and key makes it clear that they want to hide the details and cost from the American people.  If something sounds too good to be true, it is.  They know that if their true intent were exposed, Americans would soundly reject their efforts.

 

National Education Association:

It’s time for the Republican leadership to come clean with the American people. Repealing the ACA will harm our students and their families by forcing cuts to critical programs, reducing financial support for lower-income Americans, and taxing the middle class. Bottom line, working Americans will pay more for less coverage while insurance executives and the wealthy get handouts.

 

American Federation for Suicide Prevention:

We must ensure the gains we have made in mental health and substance use disorder coverage remain in place so every American has a path to a more healthy and productive life.

 

Americans for Tax Fairness Executive:

The House Republicans disastrous plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act puts at risk the health coverage of millions while handing $465 billion in tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and the biggest health insurance and prescription drug corporations.  Quite simply, ACA repeal means the rich will get richer and millions will lose their health care.

 

Coalition for Human Needs:

The impact of these plans is not just heartbreaking – we should be outraged that the drafters care more about whopping tax cuts for high-income stock market traders, and health insurance and drug companies than they do about maintaining and strengthening coverage for many millions of people.  The drafters were content to drop coverage for low-wage workers, but they took the time to end a tax on tanning salons.

 

National Women’s Law Center:

The House Republican ACA repeal bill would be devastating for women.  Rather than protecting access to care and coverage, this bill undermines the infrastructure of our nation’s health system, targets low-income individuals, and restructures the system in favor of wealthier individuals. All of this comes at the expense of women, who will be particularly harmed by the repeal bill.

 

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP):

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) writes today to raise serious concerns about the American Health Care Act and the impact this bill will have on low-income individuals.  CLASP advocates for public policies and programs at the federal, state, and local levels that reduce poverty, help low-income people become economically self-sufficient, and create ladders to opportunity for all.

 

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation:

The bills released by the two House committees this week fail to adequately protect people living with cystic fibrosis and place the lives of millions of Americans living with serious and chronic diseases at risk.

 

HIV Medicine Association:

These proposals will not only harm individuals with HIV but will compromise our nation’s public health by leaving fewer with access to the antiretroviral treatment that keeps patients healthy and reduces their risk of transmitting HIV to near zero. We strongly urge the committees to reconsider the bill and the accelerated and non-transparent process with which these proposals have been advanced.

 

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:

This proposal is truly disheartening.  It doesn’t ensure that all Americans will continue to have health coverage, as its supporters claim.  Rather, it drastically cuts financial assistance for low-income people living at or below the poverty line, undermines and places severe limitations on the Medicaid expansion, and proposes to defund Planned Parenthood centers from the Medicaid program.

 

MomsRising:

The American Health Care Act makes a mockery of every campaign promise Donald Trump made about health care. It sets the stage for deep, punitive, permanent cuts to Medicaid in just a few years, which would cause grave harm resulting in rationing care for some of the most vulnerable people in our country: low-income families, pregnant women, people with disabilities and the elderly. The Republican plan would allow insurance companies to raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs, especially for seniors.  The only winners would be the wealthy.

 

Access Living:

…be clear, it could PULL THE RUG OUT from under community-based supports.  The AHCA is a giant budget cut to Medicaid! It makes Medicaid pay for benefits for wealthier people!

 

Children’s Defense Fund:

The American Health Care Act would reverse progress and make children worse off by depriving them of the comprehensive and affordable child-appropriate coverage they are guaranteed today, jeopardizing their futures and also the nation’s future economic and national security.

 

Unite Here!:

…what was unveiled by House Republicans is a plan that slashes healthcare coverage for millions of Americans, includes ridiculous giveaways—like a tax break for healthcare corporations that pay executives more than $500,000 a year—and imposes a huge tax increase on middle-class health benefits to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

 

Families USA:

The GOP health care proposal would be laughable if its consequences weren’t so devastating.  This bill would strip coverage from millions of people and drive up consumer costs.  It shreds the Medicaid social safety net that serves more than 72 million people, including many children, senior citizens and people with disabilities.  And it once again leaves millions of people in America with chronic illness and disease at the mercy of insurance companies.

 

First Focus:

The American Health Care Act would…be a major step backwards for our nation’s children. [It] would seriously threaten the health and well-being of millions of children.  These provisions also violate a campaign promise by President Donald Trump to not cut the Medicaid program and to ensure that no one would lose health coverage under the bill.

 ###