Durbin: Latest GOP Health Care Repeal Bill Creates Problems For Every American Family

WASHINGTON—Following announcements from numerous Republican Senators in opposition to their party’s latest effort to repeal health care, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on his Republican colleagues to drop their partisan attempt to ram through health care repeal.  In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin urged Congressional Republicans to instead focus on ways to strengthen America’s health care system. As the month of September comes to an end, the U.S. Congress must reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health insurance coverage for more than nine million children and pregnant women nationwide, including 350,000 kids in Illinois.  The Senate must also reauthorize funding for our nation’s community health centers, which helps 26 million Americans receive the critical health care services they need. If Congress does not reauthorize these vital programs by September 30, tens of millions of children, pregnant women, veterans, and people in rural communities will lose access to health care.

However, Senate Republicans continue to focus on ramming through their latest proposal to rip health care away from millions of Americans—the Cassidy-Graham proposal—despite the fact that a preliminary analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the proposal would result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance, would cut $1 trillion from the Medicaid program over next decade, and would increase health insurance costs dramatically for people with pre-existing conditions. 

“Over the last three days, three Republican Senators have publicly stated that they will vote against the health care repeal bill that may come to the Senate this week.  This should be the end of the Graham-Cassidy repeal debate.  The Republican leadership should finally scrap this one-sided effort to literally change the health care system for America.  At the end of this week, funding for our nation’s community health care centers will run out.  As does funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Shouldn’t we be focused on those programs, reauthorizing them appropriately in a timely way,” said Durbin.  “What America wants is for us to solve problems, not create them.  The Graham-Cassidy bill will create problems for every American family.  Let’s do something right.  On a bipartisan basis, let’s sit down and work out improvements to our health care system.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

The latest Senate Republican proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would end the Medicaid expansion, which has benefitted 650,000 Illinoisans, and dramatically restructure and slash the traditional Medicaid program—cutting services for low-income children, pregnant women, the disabled, the elderly, and those in rural communities. In addition, this measure would terminate the ACA’s subsidies, which help people buy health insurance, and completely undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, allowing insurers to once again charge people with pre-existing conditions more for their insurance.  It would impose an age tax on older Americans by allowing those over age 50 to be charged five times more than younger patients.  And it would allow health plans to refuse coverage of important health services – from mental health care to hospitalizations and prescription drugs, to substance abuse treatment and maternity care. Outside analyses have estimated this repeal bill would cause tens of millions of people to lose health insurance coverage, while cutting hundreds of billions in health care funding to states. 

The Graham-Cassidy bill is opposed by the AARP, the American Hospital Association, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, nursing organizations, the March of Dimes, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Diabetes Association, BlueCross BlueShield, and America’s Health Insurance Plans, as well as many other patient, provider, and disease organizations.