WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee, issued the following statement on the House plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“The House GOP health plan is yet another misguided, ill-conceived attempt to shift health care costs to the millions of hardworking, middle-class Americans who rely on the affordable, comprehensive coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Maryland families have repeatedly told me how fearful they are of an ACA repeal and the latest GOP plan does nothing to alleviate those concerns. This plan will result in more people being uninsured, higher health insurance premiums and ultimately higher health costs.
“This inadequate bill breaks the president’s and Republicans’ promises to ensure access to high-quality health care. Under this plan, the 289,000 Marylanders that gained healthcare coverage through the Medicaid expansion will be left without vital coverage. Eliminating the Medicaid expansion and capping federal funding for Medicaid would also draw vital resources away from our minority and underserved communities. Almost 70 percent of Medicaid recipients in Maryland are from communities of color. I refuse to retreat in the battle to eliminate health disparities.
“Additionally, 1.25 million Maryland Medicaid enrollees will no longer have access to essential health benefits like mental health and substance abuse treatments, pediatric dental services, or maternity coverage. Maryland is in the midst of an opioid crisis. And House Republicans want to take mental health and substance abuse treatments away from those who struggle with addiction and dependency.
“If the ACA is repealed, every Marylander, not only the more than 400,000 who gained coverage under the ACA, will be hurt by higher costs and fewer benefits. Because the House bill continues Republican attacks on Planned Parenthood the 10 Planned Parenthood health centers in Maryland will be at risk of shuttering their doors to the thousands of patients they serve in urban, rural and medically underserved areas. Millions of women nationwide would be put at risk of having no place to go for basic primary and preventive health care The American people deserve better from their elected officials. I am committed to fighting this reckless attempt to reverse the significant healthcare gains we’ve made under the ACA.
“It is important to note that the original ACA debate in 2009 was an open and comprehensive review. The Senate held dozens of public meetings, hearings in both the Finance and HELP Committees, and accepted hundreds of Republican amendments. We spent 25 consecutive days in session on healthcare reform, the second longest consecutive session in history. Without appropriate committee hearings, Congress will be forfeiting its responsibility to act. As excited as Republicans are to turn back the clock on the Affordable Care Act, this is something we simply cannot afford to rush through according to an irrational, partisan agenda.”