Republicans Push Trumpcare Through House Despite Huge Opposition
Today the Republicans in the U.S. House pushed through their “repeal and replace Obamacare” legislation. The bill passed with a four vote margin at 217-213.
“Today Republicans in the House put politics ahead of the wellbeing of millions of Americans and thousands of people throughout New Hampshire,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH). “The American Health Care Act threatens access to healthcare for hardworking families, removes protections for those with pre-existing conditions, increases costs for seven million veterans and Americans over 50 years old, and jeopardizes our response to the opioid addiction epidemic that is impacting communities nationwide. I’m extremely disappointed that my colleagues were so steadfast in their determination to appease the most extreme elements of their party that they disregarded the voices of their constituents. I’ve consistently expressed my willingness to work with Republicans and Democrats to improve our healthcare system for all Americans, but this misguided legislation is not the answer. I hope that as the seriously damaging elements of this bill become more clear the Senate will come together in bipartisan opposition to the AHCA.”
“The House just passed a terrible bill that will devastate so many of our citizens. I am disappointed that so many Congressional Republicans voted to take health care away from millions of Americans and to allow insurers to once again discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH). “While today’s vote was a setback, I will never stop fighting for the people’s right to health care. Now, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to send this bill where it belongs: history.”
Minutes before the vote, Shea-Porter spoke on the House floor to oppose the bill, saying:
“I oppose this cruel bill on behalf of my constituents, especially those it would hurt the most: people with pre-existing conditions, older Americans, veterans, and lower-income people. If this bill passes, we will go back to the days when people with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage or charged more, when insurers could decide whether or not to cover basic care like hospitalization, and when sick babies might hit their insurer’s lifetime coverage limit before they could even walk.”
Both NH Senators spoke out against the bill and indicate they will oppose it in the Senate.
“There is nothing in Trumpcare that helps hard-working Americans. This dangerous Trumpcare bill would lead to higher costs for less care for people across New Hampshire and the entire country,” Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH). “If you have a preexisting condition – which under Trumpcare includes cancer, asthma or diabetes – you could once again be discriminated against with higher costs. And if you are between the ages of 50 and 65 you would face a new age tax, which is among the reasons the AARP strongly opposes this bill.
“Trumpcare would also dramatically hurt our ability to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis by ending Medicaid expansion and undermining the requirement that insurance companies must cover substance use disorder and behavioral health services. By cutting and capping traditional Medicaid, Trumpcare would also hurt people from students who experience disabilities to older Americans in nursing homes. And Trumpcare would defund Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health services to thousands of New Hampshire women and families,” Hassan concluded.
“President Trump and Republican leadership have recklessly rushed legislation through the House that would be devastating to the health and wellbeing of New Hampshire,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). “This bill dramatically reduces healthcare coverage across the country, increases costs for patients, and eliminates protections that prevent insurance companies from discriminating against patients with pre-existing conditions. Under this bill, insurance companies could discriminate on a wide-range of conditions and circumstances, including history of cancer, heart disease, C-sections, postpartum depression and even being the victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. It also eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood, jeopardizing access to vital preventative care services that more than 12,000 Granite State women rely on to live healthy lives, care for their families, and lead in the workforce.”
“The vote to take away health care from millions of Americans is a shameful display of partisan politics at its worst,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “House Republicans voted to take health care away from tens of thousands of Granite Staters, abandon Americans with pre-existing conditions, slash Medicaid, and raise health care costs for all families to give over $600 billion in tax breaks to the very wealthy and the big insurance and drug companies.”
“Trumpcare will take us back to the days when insurance companies made all the rules. It will eliminate any requirement that insurers cover basic health benefits like prescription drugs, preventive services, and maternity care. It lets insurers charge people with pre-existing conditions whatever they want and it radically restructures Medicaid, over time cutting services to seniors, children and people with disabilities and shifting huge financial burdens to the state budget.”
“For years Granite Staters donned ‘I’m a Health Care Voter’ stickers and called on candidates to fix our country’s broken health care system. President Obama delivered on that promise and health care advocates were continuing efforts to improve coverage while bending the cost curve. During all that time opponents to health care reform failed to offer any meaningful ideas and instead continued their partisan path of obstruction. Now they have blown up every opportunity American families had to gain the coverage we all need to be healthy and economically secure,” Rice-Hawkins concluded.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England highlighted some of the devastating cuts to women’s health in the new American Healthcare Act.
- Take away health coverage for 24 million people.
- “Defund” Planned Parenthood — by blocking people with Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers — including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.
- Eliminate protections that restrict insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions unaffordable rates. Under this bill, health insurance companies could once again charge people tens of thousands of dollars a month because they had cancer.
- Undermine Essential Health Benefits standards, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs, which disproportionately affect women.
- Gut the Medicaid program, which approximately 1 in 4 women of reproductive age rely on to access no-cost, critical reproductive health care such as birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and maternity care.
- Reduce access to no-cost preventive services, including birth control.
- Impose a nationwide ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.
“This is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. It makes it harder for women to access birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to obtain maternity care to have a healthy pregnancy and harder to meet the health needs of children and families,” said Jennifer Frizzell Vice President for Public Policy, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “Alarm bells should be ringing in every house across New Hampshire.”
“If enacted, this legislation would block thousands of New Hampshire patients who rely on Medicaid from accessing the reproductive care that Planned Parenthood health centers provides. New Hampshire has some of the nation’s lowest rates for teen pregnancy and STI incidence and has been recognized for the best maternal health outcomes in the country. Under the terms of the House bill all of this progress will come undone.”
The NH AFL-CIO spoke out against the passage of Trumpcare and thanked NH’s Congresswoman for opposing the bill.
“The New Hampshire AFL-CIO was disappointed to see that the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to pass a health care bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and confiscate health care benefits from millions of people, handing a big tax break to the wealthy few while taxing working people’s health benefits.
This new effort by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be a disaster for all working families. This bill will gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, take away health care from millions of people, raise health care costs for millions more and put money in the pockets of the superrich and corporate CEOs.
Our country needs a health care plan that expands coverage for all Americans, not one that cuts it. The New Hampshire AFL-CIO and its allies will continue to fight to protect and expand health care for all. We would like to thank Congresswoman Kuster and Congresswoman Shea-Porter for continuing to stand in Solidarity with New Hampshire working families and opposing this effort to roll back the progress we have made in providing health care to millions of our Brother and Sisters across the country.”
NH Healthcare providers also condemned the passage.
“Using Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement as a pretext, the vote today was a devastating attack upon traditional Medicaid funding that predates the ACA by decades,” said Brendan Williams, President and CEO of the New Hampshire Health Care Association. “The so-called American Health Care Act cruelly rations Medicaid funds for seniors and those with disabilities. It’s a real ‘death panel’ bill. I can’t imagine how care in New Hampshire ultimately survives this blow. We already have the nation’s second-oldest population and third-worst nursing home funding crisis.”
“We are deeply disappointed in the vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) today in the House of Representatives, as it will result in millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Granite State residents losing the health insurance coverage that they depend on to help them get the right care, at the right time, at the right place,” said Steve Ahnen, President of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.
“The AHCA will continue to cut more than $1.5 billion in Medicare reimbursements from hospitals in New Hampshire through 2026 that would be devastating to their ability to serve the patients and communities who depend on them. It downshifts costs to the states through the imposition of Medicaid block grants, which underfund the cost of providing care to Medicaid patients and undermine New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion program. And it puts at risk important consumer protections, which could leave patients without access to critical health services and increase their out-of-pocket spending.
“This bill is a significant step backwards on the commitment to ensure coverage and we cannot support it. We will continue to work with Congress as this bill moves over to the Senate to ensure that any final legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act improves our health care system in a thoughtful and responsible way, rather than dismantling coverage for our most vulnerable residents,” Ahnen concluded.