Butterfield: Repealing the ACA Will Endanger Healthcare for Millions
Washington, DC – Yesterday evening, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) delivered the following remarks at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s full committee markup of House Republican’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Republican bill changes Medicaid into a per capita cap funding structure that will inevitably result in the rationing of care; eliminates Medicaid expansion that has helped millions of Americans to gain affordable healthcare coverage; removes the mandate that Medicaid cover all Essential Health Benefits; and imposes a 30 percent reinsurance penalty that goes straight into the pockets of the insurers for individuals who for any reason are unable to maintain consistent coverage. A link to the video and transcript of his remarks as prepared can be found below.
Click here for a video of his remarks.
Chairman Walden, I would like to draw your attention to the incredible impact the Affordable Care Act has had on individuals and the lifesaving benefits it has created for people in my district in eastern North Carolina.
Since the ACA was signed into law, millions of Americans have gained access to quality healthcare services and hundreds of thousands more have seen their health insurance improved.
The ACA has played a significant role in reducing worry among Americans who previously struggled to pay unaffordable medical bills when they got sick.
We cannot afford to go back to the days when Americans were forced to pay more money for less coverage, and when insurance companies rationed the care people received.
My constituents do not want to go back to the days where health care emergencies could bankrupt families. This harmful bill rolls back the clock and will rip health care away from my constituents.
Chairman Walden, my constituents have made it clear that the ACA saves lives.
Today, I want to share the story of Julie Chamberlain, who lives and works in my Congressional District in Greenville, North Carolina.
Julie is 55 and for the first time in her adult life, she is able to afford health insurance because of the ACA even though she has a pre-existing condition.
Before the ACA’s enactment, Julie tried to get coverage but could not afford the expensive policies she was being offered due to her pre-existing condition.
Chairman Walden, repealing the ACA will endanger health care for millions of Americans.
Julie is one of them.
Because she is over 50 years of age, Julie is at risk of no longer being able to afford health insurance under the replacement plan because this bill will allow insurance companies to charge much higher premiums for older Americans than they were allowed to under the ACA.
In fact, the bill is estimated to raise premiums for older Americans by ($3,200) thirty two hundred dollars. That is a lot of money for people trying to put food on the table, pay for their children’s education, and keep up with their bills. Many people simply can’t afford that and would lose coverage altogether.
At the thought of losing her coverage, Julie said- and I quote – “I know if the ACA is repealed, I will not have health insurance any longer and I worry tremendously about losing my coverage.”
Mr. Chairman, please listen to Julie and the millions of Americans like her who are living in a state of worry that this bill will make health care unaffordable.
Julie’s story is just one of more than 35,000 people in my Congressional District alone, who now have insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
I heard from many of them on Saturday, February 25th in Durham North Carolina. I held a town hall, like many of my Democratic colleagues, and heard from more than 600 of my constituents who support the ACA.
Even though my Republican colleagues fear public interaction and are missing in action, the voices of my constituents and theirs deserve to be heard.
Like Julie, many of these individuals would no longer be able to afford healthcare insurance if the ACA is repealed.
This bill is also alarming because it would prevent states- like North Carolina- that did not yet expand Medicaid from choosing to expand in the future.
This bill stands to block more than 650,000 North Carolinians from gaining coverage under Medicaid if the State expands the program in the future.
The fact that my colleagues across the aisle continuously propose ways to reduce health coverage for Americans, many of whom reside in their Congressional Districts, is disgusting.
I will do everything in my power to protect the many North Carolinians who rely on the coverage and protections provided under the ACA and I urge my colleagues to oppose this harmful bill.
I yield back.