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Congressional Progressive Caucus Leaders Respond to AHCA Passage

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and First Vice Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) released the following statements after the American Health Care Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives today by a vote of 217-213.

“Seven years ago, I stood with my fellow Democratic colleagues in voting in favor of the Affordable Care Act,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Even with its trials and tribulations, the Affordable Care Act expanded coverage to millions of Americans. It ensured that premiums for the sick and elderly were affordable. It mandated that basic services like annual health screenings and emergency room visits were offered by insurance companies. It prevented the most vulnerable from being discriminated against due to preexisting health conditions. It essentially made healthcare a right, not a privilege. Today, Republicans callously dismantled seven years of progress in exchange for a plan that offers nothing but tax breaks for the rich. Republicans used our healthcare system and the well-being of millions of Americans as a pawn to claim a political “victory”; one that will have severe consequences for years to come. The level of disregard from Republicans for the health of hardworking Americans and their families is beyond belief. Republicans have either failed to take the time to understand, or refuse to believe, how harmful, reckless and poisonous this bill is.”

“In their first major vote under President Trump, House Republicans pushed through a bill that will increase insurance premiums and deductibles, slash hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid, and leave millions of working people without affordable healthcare coverage – to finance a $1,000,000,000,000 tax cut for the top 2% of households,” Rep. Ellison said. “Everyday Americans will be forced to pick up this tab, and they’ll pay for it with their health, their security, and in some cases, with their lives.”

“Calling this bill the “American Health Care Act” is a cruel irony – 24 million Americans will likely lose their coverage. Hundreds of millions of people who get their insurance through their employer could see their plans slashed. Seniors and people with pre-existing conditions will be priced out of their insurance plans. And as many as one million Minnesotans who have received affordable care through the expansion of Medicaid, essential health benefits, or the exchange will be worse off. This vote is a message to every American who has ever struggled to pay for healthcare. For once, Republicans are being candid.

“To the expecting mother whose insurance won’t pay for her maternity care and delivery because her state was granted a waiver on covering essential health benefits, Republicans say: perhaps you shouldn’t have gotten pregnant.To the parents in Minneapolis working multiple minimum wage jobs with no employer health benefits and relying on Medicaid to pay for their children’s checkups, Republicans say: you may have to choose between your children’s health and paying your rent. To the person born with a chronic illness, like my constituent Michael, born without eyes, who relies on Medicaid to help him live in his community, Republicans say: pull yourself up by your bootstraps.And to every single Minnesotan who has gotten insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans say: if you can’t afford to pay for health insurance yourself, you can’t afford to live a healthy life. 

“In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote about ‘Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ There’s a reason life comes first. It’s hard to experience liberty or enjoy the pursuit of happiness if you aren’t healthy enough, or even alive, to do it.I’ve never thought healthcare should be a product to be bought and sold, taken for granted by some and out of reach for many, many others. Healthcare should be a right granted to every person. And while Republicans clearly don’t agree, we won’t stop fighting for working families – we never will.”

“This so-called health care plan is a disaster,” said Rep. Pocan. “The reality is that under Trumpcare, 24 million Americans could lose their health insurance and it will likely remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Older Americans are going to pay up to 5 times more than others for their health care. On top of that is $600 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest in this country, insurance companies, and Big Pharma. That’s what the Republicans in Congress and President Trump are all about. Those are their priorities. Unfortunately, the American people did not make that list.”

 

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The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.

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