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Congresswoman Waters Condemns Heartless Republican Obamacare Repeal Bill

March 8, 2017
Press Release

Congresswoman Waters Condemns Heartless Republican Obamacare Repeal Bill


Washington, D.C. -- Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, issued a statement after reviewing House Republicans’ bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” The bill was released Monday night and is scheduled to be marked up today in two House committees. Her statement follows:


I am outraged by the heartless Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which leaves millions of Americans without access to affordable health care, while providing a massive tax cut for billionaires.


President Trump’s support for this terrible bill is proof that he never intended to protect the programs that are critical to America’s working families and senior citizens, programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Yesterday, Trump referred to the Republican bill in a tweet as “Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill”.


This Republican bill goes way beyond repealing Obamacare; it destroys Medicaid as we know it.  It repeals the Medicaid expansion, which provided Medicaid coverage to 11 million people, and it harms millions of additional children, parents, people with disabilities, and seniors in nursing homes who have no other access to health care.  According to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Republican bill would shift an estimated $370 billion in health care costs to states over the next ten years.  If the states are unable or unwilling to pay this exorbitant expense, they would cut benefits or drop coverage for the people who need them the most.


The Republican bill eliminates the requirement that health plans provide coverage for essential health benefits, and puts insurance companies back in charge of health care. The bill would let insurance companies deny coverage for such basic health services as preventive care, maternity care, child immunizations, mammograms, and mental health services.


The Republican bill replaces Obamacare’s income-based subsidies with tax credits that would increase with age, leaving younger Americans of modest means unable to afford coverage.  The tax credits would be capped at $4,000 per person for individuals over the age of 60, which would leave health coverage unaffordable for many older Americans as well.  Meanwhile, insurance companies could increase premiums by 30 percent on people who experience a lapse in coverage, thus leaving many people unable to resume coverage when they need it.


In addition, the Republican bill repeals the mandate on large employers to provide health insurance to their employees, giving companies an incentive to drop coverage for millions of workers and their families, and it completely defunds Planned Parenthood, leaving millions of American women without access to a trusted health provider in their community.


While the Republicans dump huge health care costs on working families, they hand each of the 400 wealthiest families in America a tax break worth $7 million a year.  This heartless bill will be one of the largest transfers of wealth from low- and middle-income families to the rich in recent memory.


I am equally outraged by the undemocratic process the Republicans are using to ram this massive health care overhaul through Congress.  They have not held a single hearing or heard testimony from a single witness, and they do not even have a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.  Yet they have already scheduled markups for today in both the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, despite the fact that most Members of Congress have not even had 48 hours to read the bill!


By contrast, House Democrats followed an open and transparent process to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010.  We held 79 bipartisan hearings over two years and heard testimony from 181 witnesses representing diverse points of view, and we posted the text of the bill online 30 days before the first markup.


This dangerous bill to dismantle our nation’s health care system will cut taxes for Donald Trump and the billionaires in his cabinet, but it will leave millions of American families without access to quality health care!