Visclosky Speaks in Opposition to the American Health Care Act
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Visclosky spoke on the House floor in opposition to the American Health Care Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the American Health Care Act.
I believe that the purpose of any health care legislation should be to improve the health and well-being of our nation’s citizens, and to allow for access to quality and affordable health care for all.
That is why in the 111th Congress I was proud to support the Affordable Care Act. As a result of this landmark legislation, 19 million people in the United States now have health insurance coverage who did not before, and over nine-in-ten individuals in my home state of Indiana now have health insurance.
Regretfully, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the legislation we are considering today will leave approximately 14 million more Americans without health insurance by 2018, and this number will continue to rise to an estimated 24 million by 2026.
I am especially concerned that the American Health Care Act will jeopardize the health care coverage of the over 429,000 Hoosiers currently enrolled in Indiana’s expansion of Medicaid, also known as the Healthy Indiana Plan.
Further, I believe it is especially disingenuous that if this bill passes today, this institution will have pushed the financial cuts to programs like the Healthy Indiana Plan conveniently until after the next congressional election.
The Act before us also would negatively impact the health of millions of women and men who receive the medical services provided by Planned Parenthood. Additionally, it would not improve the well-being of our nation’s elderly by allowing providers to charge older enrollees up to five times as much as younger individuals.
Finally, I would note with great concern that a provision was just added to the American Health Care Act that would remove the requirement that insurers cover life-saving, essential health benefits, including maternal and pediatric services, rehabilitative therapy, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Congress should work to improve the Affordable Care Act and address important health concerns facing ordinary Americans, such as the rising cost of prescription drugs. But today’s bill does no such thing.
It is unacceptable and I urge my colleagues to oppose this legislation.