Two months ago, 1,500 Long Islanders came together on a Sunday afternoon to say that our first stand against the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress would be to save the critical health care programs that so many Americans depend on.
Now we’ve entered Phase Two of that fight: Republicans in Congress have released their bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, and a new report from the nonpartisan, independent Congressional Budget Office estimates that 14 million Americans would lose health insurance under this bill in the next year alone, and 24 million would lose coverage by 2026. We can’t allow that to happen.
As I said last night on CNN, this bill is an attack on seniors, an attack on women, and an attack on the most vulnerable members of our society – people with disabilities, families living in poverty, elderly Americans in nursing homes, people suffering from drug addiction. It allows insurance companies to charge seniors five times as much as younger Americans, it de-funds Planned Parenthood, it decimates Medicaid – and in the midst of an opioid crisis here in New York and across the country, it even weakens laws that require insurers to cover substance abuse and addiction treatment.
The ACA isn’t perfect, and there’s a lot we can do to keep getting more people covered and keep driving down premiums, out-of-pocket costs and drug prices. But this bill does none of that. President Trump promised “insurance for everybody,” but the future under this bill would be “survival of the fittest”: If you have money, you get quality health care. And if you don’t, you’re out of luck.
We cannot allow that to become a reality in the United States of America. We need to keep speaking up, keep shining a light on the damage this bill would do, and keep fighting for a future in which health care is a right for all Americans, not a luxury for the privileged few.