Texas Groups Blast Revised Health Care Repeal Bill on Eve of Possible Vote in Congress
AUSTIN – As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares for a possible vote on the revised American Health Care Act (AHCA), Texas advocates for children, families, patients, and consumers expressed their strong opposition to the bill. According to media reports, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan could schedule the bill for a vote as soon as this Friday or this weekend.
The revised bill still includes the harmful provisions that were in the original, failed legislation introduced in March. Those provisions would:
Leave 24 million more Americans uninsured;
Increase the cost of insurance for millions of Americans, particularly those over age 50, in rural areas, and/or on a tight budget; and
Cut Medicaid funding and protections for Texas children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities.
A new amendment to the bill would also let states:
Strip protections for pre-existing conditions; and
Strip requirements for insurance companies to cover essential benefits such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health care.
The bill faces opposition from national organizations representing doctors, nurses, seniors, patients, and others.
Several members of the Cover Texas Now coalition expressed their concerns about the legislation:
Bee Moorhead, Executive Director of Texas Impact, said, “It appears that the rule ‘do no harm’ applies to medicine, but not to legislation. Each new repeal/replace proposal we’ve seen from this Congress is worse than the last one. They have gone from a proposal that would strip coverage from 24 million Americans, to a proposal that would do that plus throwing cancer survivors under the bus and replacing robust insurance regulation with ‘caveat emptor’”
Maggie Jo Buchanan, Southern Director of Young Invincibles, said, "Despite public outcry, House Republicans are once again moving to strip health insurance from millions of young adults, discourage healthy young people from enrolling in coverage, and allow states to offer ‘junk plans’ that offer little protection for significant cost. Young Texans are the future of our economy, and our young families deserve better than this reckless proposal."
Dennis Borel, Executive Director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, said, "This would negatively impact people with chronic illnesses and permanent disabilities, likely forcing many into costly institutional settings. The public should view the new amendment as callously reneging on a promise to those who depend on fair and consistent policy."
Stephanie Rubin, CEO of Texans Care for Children, said, "The repeal bill is bad news for Texas kids. The Medicaid cuts in the bill endanger health care for children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome. We urge Congress to go back to the drawing board."
Will Francis, Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers - Texas Chapter, said, “The American Health Care Act is a step backwards for healthcare in our country. It strips patients of protections that make healthcare affordable, effective and guaranteed no matter what their condition. It will leave the most vulnerable Americans at risk of losing coverage, and tilts the system away from the consumer and towards the insurance companies. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and yet the American Health Care Act covers less people at a greater cost.”
Dr. Jaime Estrada, President of Texas Doctors for Social Responsibility, said, “Texas already has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, and as a result, the worst health indicators, too. If this bill passes, it will harm the most vulnerable Texans. Lack of access to comprehensive, affordable health insurance compromises the wellbeing of Texas families and creates an unstable economic future for our state.”
Patrick Bresette, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund of Texas, said, “This bill will hurt children. Texas already has the most uninsured children in the country and we need Congress to help us address this problem, not make it worse. One in three children in Texas relies on Medicaid for their health care, the same program that Congress plans to gut. This terrible bill should never even come up for a vote.”
Stacey Pogue, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Public Policy Priorities, said, “The dramatically unpopular health care repeal bill keeps getting worse. The latest amendment will roll back protections for people with pre-existing conditions letting them be charged much more, but with no assurance of affordable premiums and out-of-pocket costs.”
For more information, please visit covertexasnow.org.