Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a top member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement regarding today’s hearing on the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
“We all know the phrase, ‘be careful what you wish for.’ It’s a saying that Republicans are finding particularly poignant lately, as they realize that it was easy to make promises – it’s a lot harder to deliver progress, as the Affordable Care Act has.
“It’s fitting that this hearing took place on Groundhog Day, because today, Republicans brought the same ill-advised bills we’ve debated before. There was one exception: a half-written draft that, they claim, would protect Americans living with pre-existing conditions – but, when you look closely, would punish them instead. “The situation Republicans have created is indefensible.“My constituents are frightened. They’re worried that the preventive services the ACA guaranteed them free-of-charge are going to disappear. They’re worried that insurance companies will again impose caps on their coverage. They’re worried that, without the ACA’s protections, they’ll be charged more for insurance. And my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are doing nothing to allay their fears. “The draft presented today would require insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing health conditions. However, there is nothing in the text that prevents insurance companies from charging you more if you have a pre-existing condition, like asthma or diabetes. Under such legislation, Americans with pre-existing conditions could be priced out of the care they need”. “Lately, we hear Republicans use the phrase ‘universal access’ – as in, they want everyone to have universal access to health care. They’re careful to say access – not coverage – because this is what universal access is: a scheme in which insurers must cover you, but can charge you whatever they want, making it all but impossible for you to actually afford coverage.
“This is why they choose their words so carefully: because the ‘access’ they’re promising isn’t truly access at all.
“For seven years, Republicans have claimed to have a better way to reform America’s health care system. If that were true, this hearing would have been the perfect opportunity to lay out that path forward. But instead, after seven years, they gave the American people tired bills and half a draft. “My constituents have serious concerns. And it’s going to take a lot more than this to put those concerns to rest.”