CNN Op-Ed: Nancy Pelosi: Republicans’ health care plan will make America sick again
On January 20th, our nation witnessed the peaceful transfer of power with the inauguration of a new president. The next morning, America awakened to a peaceful show of power from millions of women and men across the country, and indeed across the world, in the Women’s March.
Women and their families marched to show our values, our unity and our good spirit.
Many marched for the rights and dignity of the men, women and children who have been targeted for discrimination by this administration — and in recent days we’ve seen that open prejudice on full display in the President’s immoral and unconstitutional ban on refugees and citizens from seven Muslim nations.
Many marched to protect the health care of the American people, which sadly, is also under attack by the President and the Republican Congress today.
Instead of focusing on jobs and wages, Republicans have decided to launch an all-out assault on affordable health care in America. Their plan is to repeal the Affordable Care Act, slash Medicaid, and destroy the sacred Medicare guarantee that has protected generations of Americans.
The Republicans’ plan won’t make America great again. It will make America sick again.
The facts are these. The Congressional Budget Office — whose director was appointed by a Republican speaker — has documented the dire consequences of repealing the ACA. The number of uninsured Americans will increase by 18 million in the first year alone, surging to 32 million by 2026. The costs of premiums for Americans in the individual market will double in the same time, with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Already, Republicans are trying to sabotage the ACA’s insurance marketplaces. Today, January 31, is the last day of open enrollment in the marketplaces. Last week, however, the Trump Administration abruptly canceled much of the advertising and outreach efforts that help remind Americans that time is running out to complete their applications.
Sadly, this Republican sabotage campaign is nothing new. For years, House Republicans spent taxpayer money on lawsuits to destroy the ACA’s premium supports, raising health costs on millions of Americans.
Protecting the ACA is not just about the 20 million newly insured Americans. It’s also about the more than 150 million Americans with insurance through their workplaces, who under the ACA cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, who are now protected from lifetime limits on care, whose children can now stay on their policies until age 26, and who cannot be charged more because of their gender — because being a woman is no-longer a pre-existing condition.
The fight to protect the Affordable Care Act is a fight for children like Zoe Madison Lihn — born with a severe congenital heart defect in May of 2010. She faced her first of three open heart surgeries at 15 hours old. By six months old, Zoe was halfway to the lifetime limit her insurer placed on her care.
Without the ACA, Zoe and her family faced a harrowing future: not only using up all her lifetime health coverage before preschool, but carrying the burden of a pre-existing condition for the rest of her life. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Zoe is protected. Her family can have confidence in her future.
Repeal of the Affordable Care Act will lead to death, disability and suffering. And Republicans will do all of this to give a massive new tax break to the wealthiest — as they abandon seniors and working families across America.
That injustice is not what the American people voted for in November.
Democrats will stand our ground to protect the Affordable Care Act, because we believe — as did many of the marchers — that health care is the right of every American, not just the privileged few.