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Congressman Denny Heck

Representing the 10th District of Washington

Congressman Denny Heck reacts to House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace with an ill-conceived bill

May 5, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Denny Heck (WA-10) released the following statement after the passage of the American Health Care Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“House Leadership came up with the American Health Care Act in the dark, without the collaboration of health advocates, faith groups, doctors, medical experts, economists, Democrats, and state and local governments. They forced it through before the Congressional Budget Office could explain how much it would cost.

“No legislation worth its salt is developed in such a partisan, secretive way. I joined the bipartisan rejection of the ill-conceived American Health Care Act, but it wasn’t enough to stop the bill from passing. We were just two votes short of defeating it.

“Every vote I cast, I think about the people of my district and how hard they work day-in and day-out for their families. They do not accept a bill that takes health insurance away from at least 24 million Americans, guts Apple Health, makes health insurance more expensive for the middle class and seniors, allows insurers to charge dramatically higher premiums for older patients, brings back yearly and lifetime caps on coverage, eliminates essential health benefits, shortens the life of the Medicare trust fund and discriminates against people with pre-existing conditions.

“We all know someone we care about with a pre-existing condition. Many of us have pre-existing conditions. They don’t define us, and they don’t make us second-class citizens. Health care is a right, and I am not willing to accept a situation where the richest have access to life-saving medical treatments, while the working class are forced to choose between needless suffering and bankruptcy. That's what this bill does, and that's why I will never stop fighting against it.”

The American Health Care Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives, 217-213, on May 4, 2017. The bill now goes to the Senate for further action.

If passed into law, the American Health Care Act would:

  • Take health insurance away from at least 24 million Americans;
  • Revoke the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid (known as Apple Health in Washington state), and slashes Medicaid funding by $880 billion over 10 years;
  • Removes the Affordable Care Act subsidies which help middle-income people afford health insurance and replaces the subsidies with tax credits based on age instead of income;
  • Allows insurers to charge dramatically higher premiums to older patients;
  • Allows insurers to impose yearly and lifetime caps on coverage, including for people receiving employer-sponsored coverage (prohibited under the Affordable Care Act);
  • Allows states to seek waivers from insurance plans providing essential benefits (emergency services, hospitalization, mental health care, preventive care, maternity care, and substance abuse treatment);
  • Provides hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for families making over $250,000 a year;
  • Produces higher deductibles for patients;
  • Allows insurers to charge exorbitant premiums for pre-existing conditions, effectively denying coverage; and places those with pre-existing conditions into high-risk pools.

On Wednesday, March 22, Congressman Heck spoke on the House floor and urged his colleagues to vote against the American Health Care Act. He also spoke on the House floor against repealing the Affordable Care Act previously,  telling Marty’s story on January 13, telling Shirley and Sarah’s story on February 3, telling Baby Gracie’s story on February 14, , and reading Sherry’s letter on March 8. Congressman Heck also invited Kelty Pierce to share her story with Congress as a guest for the President’s Joint Address to Congress.