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CPEHN Condemns Senators for Rushing Passage of Secret GOP Health Care Bill

6/13/2017

The California Pan Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) joins organizations across the country in condemning Senate Republicans for working behind closed doors to rush passage of their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Senate’s version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) which was purportedly shared with the White House today, would strip health care coverage from millions of Californians struggling to make ends meet — especially seniors, people with disabilities and communities of color. The AHCA would cut up to $45 billion dollars from California’s Medicaid program which provides coverage for those who can least afford it and eliminate important consumer protections for Californians who struggle with chronic conditions like diabetes and mental illness. The bill would also reduce financial assistance for individuals who need help in order to pay for health insurance premiums and co-pays.

“Voters deserve the right to see, understand and comment on legislation that will drastically affect the health and wellness of our communities,” said Sarah de Guia, CPEHN’s Executive Director. “This bill goes against the transparent, bi-partisan process the GOP promised. Why are they drafting this bill in secret? Because they know it will be devastating for their constituents” de Guia added. 

At a town hall meeting held in Riverbank, GOP Rep. Denham (R-Modesto) claimed the AHCA which he voted for, was the product of a bipartisan process, despite the fact that no Democrats supported it. While the specifics of the bill are not yet known, we have heard the Senate plan has “a lot of similarities” to the House’s overwhelmingly unpopular AHCA, with Senate Republican leadership saying they will be about 80% the same. Among other things, the GOP plan is expected to take away health care from at least 23 million Americans. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says 24,000 - 44,000 more Americans will die every year because of lack of coverage. Deductibles and premiums will rise, especially for the elderly, and people with pre-existing conditions will find themselves paying more for insurance if they can find it.

“CPEHN calls on members of Congress to listen to their constituents including health care experts and stop these partisan health care repeal plans which would cut coverage and raise our costs just to give the wealthiest another tax break,” de Guia said. “The goal of an ACA replacement plan should be to improve access to quality care while lowering health care costs. The GOP bill does the opposite of that, threatening the security and prosperity our state has enjoyed. Legislators should work across-the-aisle to improve our health care, instead of denying the basic rights our communities have gained under the Affordable Care Act,” de Guia added.