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Rep. John Lewis Wants Ryancare Republicans To Ensure Americans Don’t Lose Healthcare

March 8, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Today during the Ways & Means markup of Ryancare, intended to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), Rep. Lewis offered an amendment to “certify” that no American would lose their healthcare during the repeal and replace process the Republican majority is advancing. The markup is being managed by the Republican majority in an unusual, piecemeal fashion. One part of the proposal is being debated at a time, instead of debating and evaluating the entire bill, as is generally the procedure. 

Democrats made a series of objections to the Ryancare proposal.  They criticized the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has not “scored” the bill, meaning that members of Congress voting on the proposal, as well as the American people, do not know how much the bill will cost taxpayers.  Democrats see Ryancare as a payoff to the corporate health insurance companies at the expense of working Americans.  They also believe that Ryancare favors the rich and penalizes the poor and will likely push many who only recently were able to afford healthcare because of the ACA, off the rolls.  The lives of many sick, elderly, and vulnerable Americans would be at stake, if this ill-fate proposal is signed into law.

Ryancare has been repudiated by members on both sides of the aisle. Conservative Republicans and Republican members of the Senate have also criticized Ryancare, as have hospital associations, the Club for Growth, and many other diverse groups normally on opposite sides of debate.  Rep. Lewis made this statement to introduce his amendment:

Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.  I offer it on behalf of myself, and my colleagues -- Mr. Kind and Mr. Larson.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment is simple, but very important.  It simply says that the Republican health bill would not go into effect unless we can certify that no person would lose his or her health insurance coverage. 

Mr. Chairman, any effort to reform our health care system must consider this basic question.  We need to know how many people are going to be pushed out?  How many people are going to be left behind?  This Committee must know these answers before we can act responsibly.  (more)

We must know, in our heart of hearts, that we are truly acting on behalf of the American people.   With the information we have today, we cannot honestly say this bill will do no harm to women, the sick, the elderly, and the poor.

I am deeply concerned, that working people cannot shoulder the Republican plan. 

There is not a family in this country that has not known sickness or injury.  They cannot afford to lose their insurance coverage and we must be sure that we are not taking it from them.

Over the past few years, we have seen millions of Americans gain coverage that was meaningful.  It saved lives and gave hope.  

Gone were the days when insurance companies could put caps on care.

Gone were the days of discrimination because of preexisting conditions.

Gone were the days when you could be charged more just for being a woman.

Mr. Chairman we have come far too sweep away all the good.  We cannot -- and we must not -- turn back the clock on progress. 

I urge all of our colleagues to join us and support this basic, common-sense amendment.  Thank you.

The amendment was not passed by the Ways & Means Committee.  No Republicans voted for this proposal.