Tom Perez on GOP’s Secretive Health Repeal
June 19, 2017
As reports come in that Mitch McConnell plans to force a vote on the Republicans’ secret health care repeal bill by July 4th, DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement:
“The American people deserve a transparent legislative process with public hearings and input from experts. Despite health care impacting one-sixth of our economy and nearly every American across the country, 13 Senate Republican men have worked behind closed doors to craft legislation that would deprive Americans access to care, while causing unnecessary spikes in premiums for low-income families, older Americans, and those with pre-existing conditions.
“Republicans know how unpopular their health care repeal is and instead of following the example of Democrats eight years ago, they have decided to shield the process away from public view. With so much at stake, Republicans in Congress owe their constituents full legislative transparency – if not, they will hear from them at the ballot box.”
Republicans are falsely saying that the Affordable Care Act in 2009 was legislated in similar fashion, when in fact the Senate:
- Debated for 25 consecutive days, 160 hours, on the Senate Floor
- Held 57 Bipartisan HELP Committee hearings, meetings, roundtables, and walkthroughs
- Included 300 HELP Committee amendments, 160 of which were from Republicans
- Held 53 Finance Committee hearings, meetings, negotiations, and walkthrough
- Held a 7 day Finance Committee markup
Many top Republicans have not even seen the bill’s text, including DHS Secretary Tom Price and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch. Although some Senate Republicans have warned against forcing a vote on health care, until they take a stand against it their concerns are meaningless.
MSNBC: “In a 52-48 Senate, three Republican senators – any three Republican senators – carry enormous weight. The moment a GOP trio tells Mitch McConnell, ‘Either pursue health care in a legitimate way or we won’t vote for it’ is the moment the current Republican secrecy scheme ends. It’s as simple as that. So, sure, it’s a good thing when GOP senators acknowledge reality and raise public concerns about the indefensible partisan gambit underway, but until these Senate Republicans are prepared to back up their concerns with action, the rhetoric is ultimately hollow and meaningless.”
There is simply too much at stake, including tens of millions of Americans who would lose health insurance and people with disabilities who would suffer from Medicaid cuts.
Miami Herald Editorial: “Here’s the one thing Americans know for sure about the Senate Republicans’ Obamacare replacement bill: Millions of them — make that tens of millions of them — will lose health insurance. Insurance that helped them get preventive care, surgery, cancer treatment. Care in spite of pre-existing conditions. Care that kept minor conditions from getting worse — and more expensive to treat. Care that didn’t bankrupt a family. Care that, despite the overheated GOP rhetoric blasting the Affordable Care Act, level-headed Republican governors provided for their state’s residents.”
Huffington Post: “Most people think of Medicaid as a program for able-bodied, non-elderly adults and their children ¯ a form of ‘welfare’ that some Americans tolerate and others resent because they think, rightly or wrongly, that it’s subsidizing people too lazy to work. But one-third of the program’s spending is on people with disabilities. Although they account for a much smaller fraction of Medicaid enrollees, there are roughly 9 million people in this category, and almost all have unusually severe health care needs. On average, Medicaid spends more than four times on somebody with disabilities than it does on an able-bodied adult.”