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Rep. Gabbard Votes Against Harmful Healthcare Bill

November 6, 2017, 9:15 AM HST
* Updated November 6, 7:21 AM
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted against partisan legislation that would threaten the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans, including seniors, COFA migrants, low-income families and uninsured patients.

While the legislation reauthorized funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Community Health Center Fund, it did so by increasing Medicare premiums, altering Medicaid eligibility rules for lottery and lump-sum winners, defunding the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and reducing coverage for some of our most vulnerable communities.

Hawai‘i alone would lose over $3.5 million in federal healthcare funds in FY 2019, and over $21 million between FY 2019 and FY 2023 because of the bill’s offsets, according to Trust for America’s Health.

Click to view H.R. 3922

H.R. 3922 is opposed by AARP, AFL-CIO, American Diabetes Association, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Center for Medicare Advocacy, American Lung Association, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, among others. The bill passed by a vote of 242-174.

“Reauthorization of our Community Health Centers and the Child Health Insurance Program is critical – but that cannot be done on the backs of our kūpuna and most vulnerable,” said Rep. Gabbard. “This bill slashes funding for essential public health programs critical to our communities in Hawai‘i, while reducing Medicare coverage and driving up costs for those most in need, including our kūpuna, low-income and uninsured families and COFA migrants. Healthcare is not a zero-sum game—we should not be providing care for some, at the expense of others. Rather than using children’s healthcare as a political bargaining tool, Congress must do better and pass legislation that reauthorizes these critical programs and fixes the real problems of our healthcare system by providing quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.”

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Additional harmful provisions in H.R. 3922 include:

  • Cutting the Prevention and Public Health Fund by $10.5 billion, slashing funds for lead poisoning prevention, access to vaccines for children, state opioid prevention and response efforts, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke prevention, among others.
  • Shortening the ACA’s grace period for paying premiums from 90 days to 30 days, which risks the health insurance of up to 700,000 hardworking Americans, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
  • Offsetting delays to the Disproportionate Share Hospital payment cuts through steeper cliffs in the future, hurting the hospitals that serve our most vulnerable communities most, including low-income, COFA migrant workers and uninsured patients.

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