Other Views: Republicans reveal their hand with awful health care bill

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Rep. Mark Pocan
Friday, May 5, 2017

In 2009, Paul Ryan said, “I don't think we should pass bills that we haven't read that we don't know what they cost.”

Well, just weeks after the American people forcefully rejected Trumpcare, Speaker Ryan rammed through another version of the House Republicans' so-called “health care” bill that's even worse for Americans than the first version. Speaker Ryan completely lost all credibility by abandoning standard procedures for considering legislation in order to ram through this bill.

If the Republicans were proud of their proposal—why wouldn't they want transparency and public consideration? Because, in fact, they knew the more the American people found out about this bill, the less they would like it.

Trumpcare was amended at the last minute and rushed to the floor for a vote without the public being able to see or understand what was in the bill and with no idea of how much this is going to cost taxpayers, as is usually done by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In every sense of the word, this health care bill shows us where Paul Ryan's and President Trump's priorities lie.

Just let that sink in for a second. Speaker Ryan doubled down on a bill that only 17 percent of Americans approved of, and would cause 24 million people to lose their health care coverage. But believe it or not, Paul Ryan made this bill even worse to appease the most radical right-wing fringe of his caucus—the tea party. Republicans included amendments that would allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and allow states to exempt other essential health benefit requirements, all under the guise that this will fix problems with the Affordable Care Act.

Under Trumpcare, a pre-existing condition, like diabetes or being pregnant, could effectively price you out of the insurance market. If you have pre-existing conditions, insurance companies can charge you so much more than someone who is healthy that you cannot afford health insurance at all. And insurers can exempt other essential medical services as well. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the $8 billion that Republicans put in to supposedly help Americans with pre-existing conditions afford their health insurance will actually only cover about 1 percent of them. Not only will this raise prices for Americans with pre-existing conditions, Trumpcare will make older Americans pay up to five times more for health coverage, and ultimately awards $600 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest in this country: insurance companies, Big Pharma and others while robbing from the Medicare trust fund to help pay for it.

It is a terrible proposal and people are going to pay more for less coverage. That's the big lie of Paul Ryan's Trumpcare, though: It was never intended to help people. House Republicans showed their hand when they tried to exempt themselves and their staff from their own plan. That's a staggering confession of how bad this bill is, yet Ryan pushed it through because he really wants giant tax breaks for insurance companies and America's richest.

After seven years of raving, House Republicans tried to check a box to repeal Obamacare. But, under Trumpcare, 24 million Americans could lose their health insurance. It will likely remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions and older Americans are going to pay up to 5 times more than others for their health care. Republicans knew this bill was so rotten, they tried to exempt themselves from the policies they were willing to impose on hard-working Americans, without their knowledge or consent. That's what the Republicans in Congress and President Trump are all about. Those are their priorities. Unfortunately, the American people did not make that list.

Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat, represents the 2nd Congressional District.



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