Last week, we saw a remarkable defeat of the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Graham-Cassidy bill would have stripped millions of their health insurance, and undermined critical consumer protections. However, while the effort to repeal the ACA was unsuccessful, we still have several concerns with how its enforcement is being handled, due to the cuts to the window for open enrollment, the rollback of outreach efforts, in particular to the Latino community, and the fact that some members of Congress are still trying to undermine a law that helped millions of people access health care.
Today UnidosUS President and CEO, Janet Murguia, submitted written testimony outlining our opposition to the Affordable Care Act repeal bill known as the Graham-Cassidy bill. The Senate Finance Committee hearing is the only hearing that will be held for consideration of the legislation. Senators must pass the bill by the end of the week, Sept. 30, in order for it to be considered under budget conciliation rules, which require a simple majority of 51 votes. UnidosUS strongly opposes Graham-Cassidy as it would reverse course on the historic gains Latinos have since the Affordlabe Care Act became the law of the land.
Read the entire written testimony below:
By Amelia Collins, Policy Analyst, UnidosUS
The House and Senate are set to return to the nation’s capital next week after a month-long recess and an ambitious agenda awaits them. Funding for the federal government runs out on September 30, and neither chamber has voted on a complete funding package for fiscal year 2018. Even though the House passed four of 12 spending bills before breaking for recess, they included $1.6 billion for the construction of a border wall, which has little chance of passing in the Senate.
What’s at stake in the upcoming budget debate? Overall spending levels for FY18. Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, sequestration returns this upcoming fiscal year. That matters because the House-passed “security bus” blew through the cap for defense spending to the tune of $72 billion.
The fight to save health care this week culminated in a dramatic series of events on the floor of the U.S. Senate last night. With just three Republican votes, the final attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or the “skinny repeal” bill, failed to muster the 50 votes needed to advance the bill. Senators Lisa Murkowsk (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and John McCain (R-Ariz.) cast the votes the Democrats needed to secure the bill’s failure.
In response to the vote and the other votes to repeal the ACA that were taken this week, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía issued the following statement:
“Once again, the Republican Senate has failed in their inexplicable effort to move ahead with a plan to gut the Affordable Care Act,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguia. “The bills they brought to a vote this week, which are among the worst pieces of domestic legislation to ever come before the Senate, would have left millions of Americans uninsured, slashed funding from the Medicaid program, and eliminated critical consumer protections. So-called ‘Trumpcare’ was so widely unpopular across this country, in fact, that only 13% of Americans supported it. We thank senators who voted based on the best interests of their constituencies and of the American people instead of caving in to political pressure.
It has been a confusing and unpredictable past few days, but one thing is clear: the fight to protect our health care is not over. Senate Republicans are continuing their reckless quest to pass legislation that would cause tens of millions of Americans—including Latinos—to lose their health coverage.
No matter how many tweaks they make or what name they give it—whether they call it the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) or the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA)–the Senate Republican plan is dangerous. It would cause at least 20 million more Americans to become uninsured and make deep cuts to Medicaid, all while giving a giant tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.