Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a top member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued the following statement on this week’s marathon Energy and Commerce Committee mark-up of the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act:
“This week, House Republicans unveiled their long-promised bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Congressional Republicans have spent seven years demonizing and sabotaging the ACA. They had plenty of opportunities to collaborate with Democrats to modify the parts of the law they didn’t think were working. In fact, most large pieces of legislation need to be tweaked once implemented. But instead, the GOP chose to vote 60+ times to repeal the ACA and destroy the progress it has shepherded for millions.
“Now, after seven years of grandiose promises, they’ve finally unveiled their ‘better way,’ in the form of a bill that would take health care from millions, push new costs onto seniors and the sick, deny women the chance to see the provider of their choice, ration health care for children, overburden hospitals – and the list goes on.
“Their legislation was shared for the first time night – less than two days before the Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means Committees were set to debate the bill. On top of that, the GOP bill arrived without a readout from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) – an analysis that details how much money a bill would cost to implement and, critically, the number of Americans that would lose their health insurance because of the bill.
“House Republicans may have thought they could pull the wool over Americans’ eyes – but not on our watch.
“Energy and Commerce began to consider this GOP repeal bill at morning. For more than 27 hours, I fought alongside my fellow Committee Democrats to debunk Republican myths about the ACA, get answers to important questions about their bill, and defend the progress shepherded by the ACA for our constituents.
“I am pleased to have had this opportunity to speak out on substantial problems within the GOP bill, including:
· A radical restructuring of Medicaid that will put a huge financial burden on states, forcing them to ration health care
· A repeal of the Medicaid expansion, which afforded quality coverage to millions of Americans
· Policies that will harm seniors’ access to long-term supports and services
· A senseless rescission of funding for Planned Parenthood
“I also offered an amendment that would have required the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to assess whether Medicaid changes within the GOP bill might force hospitals into the red, or to close their doors altogether. According to America's Essential Hospitals, ‘this legislation could place a heavy burden on the safety net…our hospitals could not sustain such reductions without scaling back services or eliminating jobs.’
“I felt that Republicans and Democrats alike ought to have supported my amendment to ensure the GOP bill wouldn’t inhibit hospitals’ ability to care for our constituents. Sadly and predictably, Republicans defeated my amendment on a party-line vote.
“So the Republicans have voted to advance their ill-advised repeal bill – but Democrats aren’t giving up.
“The GOP repeal would ration Americans’ health care and force them to pay more for less. I will continue fighting to defend my constituents against this disastrous bill.”