The Height of Irresponsibility
As you might already know, I am deeply troubled by the decision Congress made yesterday to pass the American Health Care Act, also known as “Trumpcare”. Some of you may have assumed that I voted “No” to stay within party lines but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The truth is, I am troubled by the decision my colleagues made to put party before people. Republicans voted to end health care as we know it for pure political reasons. They wanted a “win” so badly that they passed a bill without holding hearings to get expert testimony on the effects of the policy, without waiting for evaluation by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, without understanding what the consequences will be for American families. That rush of power came at a high cost. The cost of 24 million Americans who will now lose health care. To not fully examine the impacts to an industry, that is one-sixth of our economy, is the height of irresponsibility.
The majority of the people affected will be working families, seniors, children and the poor … the most vulnerable of us all. Families whose children are born with birth defects or even conditions such as diabetes, or heart disease will see premiums and deductibles so expensive, they will not be able to afford health insurance. People with pre-existing conditions, especially our seniors, will pay more for less insurance coverage. Rural America will have far less access to health care resources. Fourteen million people will lose their Medicaid.
I have heard families say “my mother, father, son, or daughter has cancer and without Obamacare, he or she would not have been able to get the life-saving treatments they needed to survive”. What will they say now, “the insurance is so expensive, we don’t know how we are going to pay for it?” Why should a family have to make that choice?
The Republicans then stood behind President Trump on the White House lawn, praising the ill-conceived and poorly-executed Trumpcare bill. These men and women supported the wealthy and the insurance companies, not Americans like you or me. I implore my congressional colleagues to put themselves in the shoes of the millions of Americans who have just had the rug pulled out from under them. American families who are afraid that they won’t be able to afford their medications or the life-saving treatments that their loved ones need.
Yesterday was a sad day for America, but today is a new day. The fight is not over. All Americans deserve access to healthcare and I will continue to stand up for them.
Emanuel Cleaver, II Member of Congress