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PRESS RELEASE: CAHC Comment on Senate Vote on H.R. 1, Tax Reform and Health Care Repeal Bill

Press Release

CONTACT: Steve Butterfield, Policy Director
Consumers for Affordable Health Care
(207) 213-7254 (Cell)
sbutterfield@mainecahc.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 2, 2017

Consumers for Affordable Health Care Disappointed, Alarmed by Senate Vote on Tax Reform and Health Care Repeal Bill

Consumers for Affordable Health Care (CAHC) is disappointed and alarmed by the narrow 51-49 United States Senate vote, taken in the dead of night on a bill that was being written as the vote opened, in favor of H.R. 1, a measure that will do grave harm to America’s health care system.

“Mainers have been clear and consistent this year: they want more access to better and more affordable health care, full stop,” said Steve Butterfield, Policy Director.

“This may have started as a tax proposal, but it became a health care bill. If this bill becomes law, thousands of Mainers and millions of Americans will lose coverage. Premiums will skyrocket. Fewer people will have Medicaid, and Medicare stands to get slashed by tens of billions of dollars – automatically. While a few billionaires are going to make out like bandits, this is a dangerous and reckless bill that will do real damage to working-class Americans.”

Butterfield was referring to analyses of the bill conducted by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, and the nonpartisan organizations Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Center for American Progress, all of whom reached similar conclusions about coverage losses, Medicare cuts, premium increases, and tax hikes for middle class and lower-income Americans.

It is estimated that 13 million Americans, including 50,000 Mainers, will lose health coverage over the next decade as a result of the bill’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. It is further estimated that premiums will skyrocket by an additional 10% annually. Because the bill adds over a trillion dollars to the deficit, it will also trigger an automatic $25 billion cut to Medicare in 2018 alone.

“We are particularly troubled by Senator Collins’ support for this measure,” Butterfield added. “Until this vote, she had been so consistent in her opposition to exactly the kinds of dangerous policies that got wrapped up in this bill. We are disappointed that she has changed her mind about a proposal that is just as much of a bad idea today as it has been all year.”

CAHC is calling on members of both the House and the Senate to undo the bill’s most damaging sections in the conference committee process, and urging Maine people to continue reaching out to their members of Congress to make their voices heard.

“This is not the end of the line for this bill,” Butterfield said. “We are hopeful that, if enough Mainers remind their leaders what the stakes really are here, then our members of Congress can summon the political courage to do the right thing. That means protecting their constituents from harm, rather than cobbling together enough votes in the dead of night to hand out an early holiday bonus to a handful of billionaire donors.”

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