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Congressman Peter DeFazio

Representing the 4th District of OREGON

Statement on Republican Steps to Dismantle the Affordable Care Act

Jan 13, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Rep. DeFazio issued the following statement on the Republican's steps to dismantle the Affordable Care Act: 

"I have never said that the Affordable Care Act is a perfect law. While the bill was being drafted, I fought for the creation of national exchanges and a national not-for profit plan that I hoped would set the example for single-payer healthcare. I also advocated for other critical reforms, including eliminating the anti-trust immunity for the insurance industry and regulating pharmaceutical pricing.

"Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate blocked these improvements to the legislation, and in the next election, they took over the House. Since that time the Republicans have done nothing but vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act; in six years they have never offered a plan to replace or improve the existing system.

"I think there is broad agreement that the law needs improvement to benefit more Americans. However, the path to meaningful improvement is through bipartisan compromise—not through a reckless, partisan process rushed by Republican leadership to dismantle the Affordable Care Act with zero proposals to replace it. This approach will ruthlessly strip healthcare coverage from more than 30 million Americans, including more than 475,000 Oregonians.

"Before congressional Republicans take the Affordable Care Act to the chopping block, they need to remember the reasons we passed healthcare reform in the first place. Eight years ago, insurance companies had free reign to price-gouge consumers. Individuals with pre-existing conditions could be denied healthcare coverage. Insurance companies could refuse to renew your coverage policy if you got sick. Costs were skyrocketing and the consumer—not big insurance companies—were paying the price. The Affordable Care Act changed all that and provided protection and security to millions of Americans. Today, our nation’s uninsured rate is the lowest it has ever been.

"If the Affordable Care Act were to be repealed immediately, we would lose those protections. More than half a million Oregonians included under the law’s Medicaid expansion would lose coverage, and Oregon would be at risk to lose $3.56 billion in federal Medicaid dollars. Approximately 28,000 young people who have been allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26 could lose their insurance. More than 50,000 children across our state who benefit from the Children’s Health Insurance Program would be at risk of having their health insurance rolled back. Insurance companies would no longer be required to provide free preventative care. Oregon seniors will be forced to pay more for prescription drugs.

"The law needs improvement, but we cannot overlook the enormous benefits that the Affordable Care Act has provided tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Oregonians. Improvements should be made in a deliberative and cooperative way. I urge my Republican colleagues not to rush the process to gain political points at the expense of families who depend on the Affordable Care Act."