Washington, D.C.– Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), today questioned why House Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act despite an authoritative analysis showing repeal would add more than $230 billion to the national debt over the next 10 years. The vote marks the Republicans’ first of many promised attempts to give primary power over health costs back to insurance companies.
“The Republican repeal scheme will deny you access to health care and put your family-doctor relationship at risk,” Grijalva said. “The simple fact is that Republicans are looking out for corporations ahead of the public interest. I and my colleagues are working to protect and empower individuals and families to control their own health care. The GOP agenda would cost millions of people coverage they need and deserve, including retirees and children with pre-existing conditions.”
“Taking away health care from millions of Americans doesn’t create jobs,” Rep. Ellison said. “If it did, the past decade of insurance companies denying health care to millions of Americans would have been side by side with the biggest hiring boom in our nation’s history. Sadly, it was not. Protecting every American’s right to health care and a job with a living wage should be priority number one for this Congress. Obviously, Congressional Republicans have a different agenda.”
The CPC – the largest voting bloc in the Democratic Caucus – has long questioned why Republicans have failed to offer an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, instead repeating their “repeal and replace” talking point while offering no alternative. In contrast to Republican inaction, the Affordable Care Act has already yielded expanded health coverage, cheaper prescription drugs for seniors, and strong patient protections from industry abuses like denying health to the sick or canceling plans when illness or injury occur.
Several Caucus members took to the House floor today – including Grijalva (video here) – to speak against the Republican NoCare/No Jobs agenda. As Grijalva described it: “No care if you lose your job. No care if you or your child has a pre-existing condition. No care if you’re a senior in the donut hole. No care if you’re under twenty-six and on your parents’ plan. No care if you get sick and your insurer drops your coverage. No care if your insurer hikes your premiums higher than you can afford.”
“If Republicans think the Affordable Care Act is a bad policy, the Progressive Caucus would love to discuss their alternative,” Grijalva said. “We just haven’t seen one yet. We’re waiting.”