Opinion: House Republicans Vote to Strip Health Care (Updated 5/24)

By: Kevin W

5/24 Update:

The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the Republican AHCA today and it is bad news for House Republicans.  In short, the report states that if enacted, the AHCA would cause 14 million Americans to lose their health insurance in 2018, with an additional 9 million losing their insurance by 2026. 

The bill also removes close to a trillion dollars ($993 billion to be exact) from health care spending, with the largest cuts coming from Medicaid. 88% (or $874 billion) of that reduction in spending would be used to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.

The findings only reinforce how irresponsible it was for House Republicans to pass the bill without first calculating its potential impact. Fortunately, the bill looks to be dead on arrival in the Senate, but that shouldn’t stop voters from calling their Senators to ensure a watered-down version isn’t passed. 

My original post from 5/4, the day House Republicans passed the AHCA, is below:

Today, House Republicans passed their controversial health care reform bill, the American Health Care Act. While the bill still faces major obstacles in the Senate, both the bill’s content and the circumstances surrounding the bill’s approval are worrisome.

The original version of the American Health Care Act proposed in March was one of the most unpopular in modern history, with an approval rating hovering around the 15% mark. Many House Republicans, whose offices were flooded with calls urging them to vote no on the bill, realized that voting for the bill would be political suicide. So rather than risk the public humiliation of a failed vote, no vote was held at all. Afterwards, Paul Ryan went as far as to admit that Obamacare was the “law of the land.”

But the AHCA was resurrected, tweaked, and will now head to the Senate floor for a vote. The White House and House Republicans were looking for an easy win and they got it. But at what cost?

The CBO report on the original bill estimated that 24 million Americans would lose their health insurance under the AHCA. As of today’s vote, an updated CBO had not been released, meaning Republicans voted for the bill without knowing the potential consequences of their actions. Yet in 2010, many of these same Republicans, including Speaker Paul Ryan, demanded that the public analyze results from the CBO report on Obamacare, and praised the group’s nonpartisan approach. Now, Republicans are perfectly happy to disregard the CBO entirely. It’s hypocrisy at its finest.

The vote today was not only ill advised, but dangerous. People’s lives are at stake. The fact is these Republicans prioritized a tax cut for the wealthiest .1% over the health of their constituents. The bill expresses complete disdain for the most vulnerable populations of the country.

Republicans may be celebrating today, but next week when they head home for recess they must face the very constituents they voted to strip health insurance from. And even if the bill is killed in the Senate, when 2018 comes, the votes in favor of the AHCA will still be on the record. Their move today was short sighted. Don’t let them forget it.

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