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House Republicans Resuscitate Much-Maligned Health Care Bill

Last-Minute Amendments Don’t Change Estimates of Skyrocketing Costs and Millions Losing Coverage
Statement of Emily Brostek, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care
in response to today’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass an amended version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act

“Somehow, Speaker Ryan and the House Freedom Caucus have managed to make a bad bill even worse.  The current legislation continues to do almost everything that most Americans strongly oppose – no more coverage for pre-existing conditions; no more essential health benefits; and no more cost protections for seniors.  We’re shocked to see this bill come back even more blatantly destructive than before.

House Republicans have fast-tracked a bill that will destroy lives and bankrupt families, just so they can put a check-mark next to a campaign promise.  Their plan won’t make things better; it will create chaos in the system and rip away health coverage for millions across the country, including tens of thousands in Maine.  Now their Senate colleagues have been left to clean up the mess and make sure these careless policy proposals don’t advance.

We are extremely concerned about the very real and dangerous implications of the Ryan/Trump plan. What possible good can come from raising the cost of health care for seniors, blocking women from cancer screenings, and making it harder for our communities to get ahead of the opioid epidemic?

Campaign promises shouldn’t supersede care and common sense. Instead of working toward rational solutions to fix what can be improved upon in our health care system, Representative Poliquin has just voted to send America backward by making it harder for individuals, small business owners, family doctors, and our rural hospitals to make ends meet.

Under the Ryan/Trump plan, states could opt out of requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies would no longer be required to cover essential health benefits, like prescription drugs, emergency care, maternity care, mental health care, treatment for addiction, vaccinations, lab work, and contraception. These are health care basics and they benefit every single one of us.

Here in Maine, we know what’s at stake.  We’ve already lived the consequences of a broken health care system, and we know what can happen when state lawmakers block opportunities for individuals to obtain affordable coverage. But we also take pride in our ability to work together to find common sense solutions to difficult problems. We know Senators Collins and King share this value, and we are grateful for their consistently reasoned, thoughtful, and fair-minded approach. We’re confident they will vote to protect high-quality, affordable coverage, not take away health insurance from millions and raise premiums for millions more.

Insurance is about peace of mind.  We don’t need more upheaval and uncertainty.  We’re counting on Senators Collins and King to make sure the Senate gets this right.  On behalf of Maine consumers, we welcome any opportunity to work with them in the days ahead.”


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