From the Congressional Record Online through GPO
WHAT CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE SAYS ABOUT AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from
Connecticut (Mr. Courtney) for 5 minutes.
Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, after 7 years of railing against the
Affordable Care Act, a little less than 2 weeks ago we finally got an
opportunity to see what the Republican repeal-and-replace plan actually
President Trump described it on March 7, again, a little less than 2
weeks ago, as our wonderful new healthcare bill.
The new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, solemnly
promised that no one will be worse off financially as part of this bill
known as the American Health Care Act.
Well, Mr. Speaker, as President John Adams once said a long time ago,
facts are stubborn things; and over the last 2 weeks, we have had an
opportunity to see what the Congressional Budget Office says about the
American Health Care Act. Again, this is the neutral body that advises
the Congress and the Nation with budgetary analysis both in terms of
taxes and spending and also in terms of healthcare coverage.
What it has told us is that 24 million Americans will lose their
health coverage between now and 2024. In fact, it will go up by 14
million just in the first couple of years under this bill, which,
again, after 7 years, we never got a chance to see it, but now we are
finally getting that opportunity.
Mr. Speaker, sometimes it is a little sort of too much to talk about
these large numbers and top-line numbers. What I want to share with you
and my colleagues and also anyone watching this speech is that the
Kaiser Family Foundation, which is, again, one of the most respected
healthcare, nonprofit, educational institutions in our country, has
produced an interactive website which basically gives any American the
opportunity to scroll across a map of America, find the county where
you live, punch in what their income level and age is, and then compare
the existing law with the American Health Care Act. Again, that website
is kff.org/interactive/tax-credits. Again, kff.org.
I had an opportunity to use that website for my district in eastern
Connecticut, a district I proudly represent, the home of the UConn
Women Huskies and the home of the Groton submarine base, the oldest
submarine base in America. What it showed is that, for people living in
New London County, in Windham County, in Tolland County, in Middlesex
County, if you are 60 years old and you are making $50,000 a year, you
lose $3,230--in terms of premium tax credits compared to existing law--
in the proposal which, again, was finally unveiled 2 weeks ago.
If you make only $30,000 a year and you are 60 years old, you lose
$5,850, a 59 percent reduction in terms of your income assistance to
buy health coverage. Again, the prior number was 45 percent.
Unlike what Mr. Price said, this, in fact, is much worse off
financially for people in those age groups and where they live. It is
far worse off financially in terms of where they stand. In fact, it
makes it impossible for people to afford health insurance.
That is why the Congressional Budget Office, looking at that kind of
data, has made the conclusion that, if we pass this bill--and the vote
is scheduled on Thursday--we will see, again, millions of Americans who
will basically be priced out of the opportunity to buy health
And when you are 60 years old--as someone who is 63, I can tell you--
that is not a good place to be in terms of your health status and the
risk that you carry when you get older in life in terms of the need to
be able to access healthcare coverage.
Mr. Speaker, it is that reason why, when you look at what the
stakeholders that deliver health care in America--the American Nurses
Association, the American Hospital Association, the AARP, and, finally,
the American Medical Association--who have looked at this bill over the
last 2 weeks, they have universally pleaded with Congress to block this
measure, to slow down the rush to judgment which is going to deprive
people of one of the most elemental, basic needs that all of us share.
We are not immortal. We are not immune to getting illness and
is something that affects every single American.
To pass a bill which will wreak that kind of havoc, again, is
irresponsible and takes this country in the absolute wrong direction.
So, again, I would plead with Members and I would ask anybody
watching this speech, go to the Kaiser Foundation website, find where
you live, think about your uncle or your children or people that you
know in your neighborhood, and really plug in that data and information
and think about what, in fact, we are being told is, in fact, a
wonderful healthcare bill and something that won't hurt people and
won't make them worse off financially. Again, the opposite is true. CBO
is telling us this, the doctors are telling us this, the nurses are
telling us this, the hospitals are telling us this, those who advocate
for older Americans are telling us this.
Again, it is not too late. This vote is coming up on Thursday. It is
time to listen to the people who are closest to the system and stop
this rush to harming millions of Americans.