CHN on Health Care Repeal Vote: ‘A Day of Shame for the U.S. House of Representatives’
Editor’s note: Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, issued the following statement Thursday in response to the House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act:
“Today’s cruel and unconscionable vote to deny health care to millions of Americans is one of the most destructive acts ever to emerge from Congress. Twenty-four million Americans could lose coverage. People with pre-existing conditions could be faced with exorbitant premiums, annual and lifetime limits on benefits, or no coverage at all – even for life-threatening conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
“The American Health Care Act (AHCA) was bad enough when it was introduced earlier this year. Now it is even worse. It broke the promise made to the American people that we would cover pre-existing conditions, that health care would be affordable, and that Americans would have access to an adequate benefits package, including doctors’ services, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drug coverage, pregnancy and childbirth, mental health and substance abuse services, and more.
“The $8 billion added to the AHCA at the last moment for high-risk pools is a fig leaf that falls woefully short of what would be needed. Experts say $8 billion over five years is enough to help just 160,000 with their premiums – a tiny fraction of the millions and millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions who are in the individual market or uninsured.
“This misguided bill would segregate people with pre-existing conditions in high-risk pools that pool sick people with even sicker people. We know from history that this doesn’t work. It leads to unaffordable premiums, benefit exclusions, annual and lifetime limits, and other problems – even when pools were sufficiently funded to avoid waiting lists. Because the bill does not provide funding to states to enable them to provide adequate support to insurance through the exchanges, states will seek waivers that will shred all the protections Americans want and need.
“Today’s vote occurred despite the fact that no one knows how much this bill would cost or how many people it would hurt. It is hard to imagine any worse way to write legislation. Today is a day of shame for the United States House of Representatives. The House has broken promises to the American people. Now it is up to the Senate to reject this carnage.”