LOS ANGELES — Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard didn’t pull any punches when it came to her thoughts on her Republican colleagues replacing the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act May 4.
“I ask for divine forgiveness for the shameful vote the House of Representatives has taken to eradicate health care coverage for so many vulnerable Americans,” Roybal-Allard said. “I strongly opposed this monstrous bill.”
Republican leaders insisted that the legislation, which narrowly passed in the House of Representatives, will provide options for people with pre-existing conditions. White House officials said that under the bill, nobody can be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, with $120 billion in funding earmarked for states to cover the costs for people with such conditions.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said earlier last week the American Health Care Act is a bill “that gives [Americans] the care that they need, that allows them to go see a doctor, that covers pre-existing conditions and does so in a way that’s not going to be out of range and unaffordable for most Americans.”
But Democrats like Roybal-Allard blasted such claims, insisting that millions of people with pre-existing conditions will either lose coverage or be forced to pay unaffordable premiums.
“The Republicans’ American Health Care Act is not an attempt to fix the ACA, nor is it an effort to offer a comparable replacement plan,” Roybal-Allard said. “The bill we voted on … is simply a response to campaign promises to repeal Obamacare, and if enacted, it will hurt all Americans in all communities at some point in their lives.
“Trumpcare will embezzle health care from 24 million hard-working Americans, with no replacement plan to expand coverage to any currently uninsured individuals,” said the Democrat who represents much of Southeast Los Angeles County.
County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who served in Congress until her election to the Board of Supervisors last November, also was critical of the legislation.
“This bill represents little more than a rushed and ill-conceived attempt to score a short-term political victory,” Hahn said. “By nearly every measurement this bill would hurt — not help — American’s access to health care. I urge Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris to stand firm against this bill and protect the progress we have made under the Affordable Care Act.
In a celebratory news conference at the White House, President Donald Trump did not specifically address the issue of pre-existing conditions, but said that under the pending legislation, which now moves to the U.S. Senate, “premiums will be coming down. Yes, deductibles will be coming down.”
“Right now, the insurance companies are fleeing,” he said. “It’s been a catastrophe. And this is a great plan. I actually think it will get even better.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also criticized the Republicans’ plan.
“Health care is a fundamental right for all, not a privilege for the wealthy few,” Garcetti said. “The bill pushed through by House Republicans would put life-saving care out of reach for millions who desperately need it.
“No one should be allowed to die because they can’t afford to live, and this legislation would reintroduce that nightmare into the lives of families across America.”