Pelosi Remarks at House Democrats’ Hearing on the Impact of House Republican ‘Pay More For Less’ Repeal Bill
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Caroline Behringer, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and House Democrats at a hearing on the impact of the Republican ‘Pay More For Less’ bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Below are the Leader’s opening remarks.
Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much, Whip Hoyer, for bringing us together and for your extraordinary leadership on this. It certainly, I accept your compliment on behalf of all our Members who had the courage, the intellect, the wisdom and judgement to support the legislation as we go forward and always recognizing there’s never been a perfect bill in Congress and that there would be opportunities to improve as we saw implementation, so thank you for this very important hearing. So important because the Republicans have refused to have hearings, but we would like to work with them on any improvements to the legislation that they might suggest.
It’s an honor to be here with you, Whip Hoyer, with our Ranking Members on the committees of jurisdiction, Ranking Member Pallone, Ranking Member Richie Neal, Ranking Member Bobby Scott, and I’m pleased to join them in welcoming our public members who are the first panel, Doug Elmendorf, Andy Slavitt, and Mike, our former colleague, Mike Kreidler from Washington state.
So, here we are. Whip Hoyer, again, thank you for organizing this hearing to examine the impacts of the Republicans’ ‘Pay More For Less’ bill, for a hearing Republicans refuse to hold. Republicans have done everything to stop the public from discovering the reality of their attack on people’s health care. But this week, the CBO exposed the Republicans’ ‘Pay More For Less’ bill as a merciless attack on the working families that it is. Merciless attack, when the Speaker calls this legislation ‘an act of mercy.’ ‘An act of mercy.’ ‘An act of mercy’ for whom?
Is it an ‘act of mercy’ for the 24 million people who would lose their health care so that Republicans can hand billionaires a massive new tax giveaway? The bill steals 600 billion dollars from working families and gives it to the rich. It’s Robin Hood in reverse, one of the largest transfers of wealth from working families to the rich in history.
Under the Republican plan, deductibles and out of pocket costs will go up for families across America. As we all know, a 64 year old with an income of $26,500 dollars in the individual market will pay $12,900 dollars more for their premiums each year. They will pay more in premiums that over half of what they make in income. Speaker Ryan claims, again as an act of mercy, as an act of mercy to make Americans pay more for less health care and push 24 million off.
Is it an act of mercy to shorten the life of the Medicare trust fund by three years and steal $880 billion dollars from Medicaid? Is it an act of mercy to abandon Americans fighting addiction? To shut down rural hospitals and destroy jobs across our country?
Now here Republicans are planning changes in the Rules Committee which could significantly worsen the already disastrous impact of the bill, including a proposal to destroy millions of Americans’ Medicaid coverage as soon as the end of this year. As I wrote to the Speaker yesterday, the public deserves to see an updated CBO score on the consequences of the final GOP legislation before any vote by the House. The American people deserve the facts, and really so do our colleagues, who have to vote on this before the House votes to destroy affordable health care in our country.
Again we are honored to be joined by some of the leading health experts in our country, with years of experience and understanding of our health care system. They’re here to offer insight and wisdom on the devastating impacts of the Republican plan, and I assure them that we have the humility to accept positive suggestions about how to improve the Affordable Care Act, but we do not support a repeal, which would have the devastating impact the Republicans are proposing. Republicans should pay attention. What we put forth was really a Republican idea, borrowed by the Heritage Foundation, supported by Mitt Romney and RomneyCare in Massachusetts. A marketplace solution, a free market idea. In any event, if you don’t believe in governance and the role of government in the public private partnership of providing health care to all Americans, then you go down the path they’re going down. But we believe that health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the few. We believe that the Affordable Care Act has been successful in meeting its goals of lowering cost, of expanding access, and improving benefits.
Can we do better? Yes, and we’d like to do that in a bipartisan way. We invite the President and our colleagues to join us in that regard. With that, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Whip, I thank you again for the opportunity to say a few words here, thank you for this important hearing, and I yield back.
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