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Rep. Gabbard Urges House to Vote No on AHCA Healthcare Bill

March 24, 2017, 9:15 AM HST (Updated March 24, 2017, 11:37 AM)
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In a speech on the House floor today, Friday, March 24, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) urged her colleagues to v­­ote no on H.R.1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which is expected for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives today.

The bill is supported by organizations like America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which represents 1,300 health insurance companies nationwide, and opposed by the AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, National Disability Rights Network, the AFL-CIO, the National Farmers Union and the National Education Association, among others.

“People in my home state of Hawaiʻi and all across the country are in desperate need of serious health care reform, to bring down costs and increase access to quality care,” Rep Gabbard said. ” The legislation before us, though, is not the answer—it perpetuates the problems. It’s a handout to insurance and pharmaceutical companies that literally pulls the rug out from those who are most needy and most vulnerable in our communities. While corporations rake in over $600 billion in tax breaks, many low-income Americans will see their coverage drop completely. Medicaid—a program that one in five Americans depends on for basic care—would be slashed by hundreds of billions of dollars, shifting costs to already strained state and local governments. Our kūpuna—our seniors—could see their premiums increase up to five times more than young healthy people under the new age rating rules in this bill. Simply put, we need a health care system that puts people before profits. I urge my colleagues strongly to vote no against this legislation.”

“The American Health Care Act is a bad bill that will hurt older Americans, making health insurance unaffordable for lower- and moderate-income people in Hawaiʻi,” said Barbara Kim Stanton, AARP Hawaiʻi state director. “It’s a double whammy for people 50 to 64 years old, who are too young for Medicare. They would see their premiums increase by thousands of dollars because insurance companies would have free rein to charge older Americans more than everyone else for the same coverage. At the same time, the bill will cut tax credits that help lower and moderate-income people afford insurance. This is not a bill to reform health care it is a special interest corporate care bill.”

According to AARP, 3 million low- to moderate-income older adults ages 50 to 64, including 5,000 people in Hawaiʻi, rely on tax credits under the Affordable Care Act to purchase health insurance.

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