3/07/2017 — 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement after Congressional Republicans unveiled their proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

“The Republicans should be embarrassed.  After over seven years of trying to find a replacement for Obamacare, they’ve come up with a plan that is unworkable and may cost more money and cover fewer people.

“One of the key aspects of their plan goes even further than repealing the ACA, it would cut Medicaid over the long term.  It would shift hundreds of billions in Medicaid costs to states over the next decade.  That would have devastating consequences for Rhode Island.  A full sixty percent of our seniors in nursing homes are covered by Medicaid.  One out of two disabled Rhode Islanders are covered by Medicaid.  One out of four children are covered by Medicaid.  And to make up the difference, the state is going to have to find dollars it doesn’t have.  The state will have to take from education and other vital programs, and that won’t cover the gap.  So we’ll end up with worse health care and more costs to Rhode Islanders.  This is an absurd plan.  Rather than trying to work with us to fix Obamacare, to make important and necessary changes, they want to replace it with an unworkable scheme that will cost more and cover fewer people.”

The Republican bill, titled “The American Health Care Act,” also known as “Trumpcare,” would essentially cut and cap Medicaid, which could lead to the rationing of health care for more than 70 million Americans, including nearly 300,000 Rhode Islanders who access health care through Medicaid.  Under the Republican bill’s Medicare Trust Fund reductions, hospitals stand to lose millions of dollars, which could cost jobs and reduce their ability to serve patients.  Meanwhile, it would create a corporate tax break for insurance executives making over $500,000 a year.

The legislation is back-loaded so that many major cuts and harmful impacts to consumers are delayed and won’t take full effect until after 2020.

Reed vowed to fight efforts to ram Trumpcare through: “They might try to move it forward, but I think even some Republicans in the House and some of my colleagues in the Senate are very dubious about this scheme.  I certainly am going to do all I can to ensure that it doesn’t take effect.  We have some areas I hope we can work on to make improvements in the Affordable Care Act so that it’s better, more efficient, more effective, but this wholesale substitution is going to be a bad deal for the people of Rhode Island.”

Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has signaled its intention to hold markups and advance the legislation before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) can calculate a score of the costs.

“The truth is Republicans have no idea how much Trumpcare will cost and no plan to pay for it.  They wrote this bill in secret and now they want to rush it through before people know how badly it will balloon the national debt.  Republicans can criticize Obamacare all they want, but the fact is we took tough votes on revenue changes and fees to actually pay for what we proposed.  Republicans seem unwilling to take a balanced approach and the result is a bad bill for consumers and a giveaway to the insurance industry,” concluded Reed.