U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today said he was underwhelmed by the health care legislation advanced by the House Republicans as an alternative to the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The congressman pointed out that the historic effort of the past 10 months incorporates items that were proposed by Republicans in Congress.
"I wish the Republicans put the same effort into this proposal that they put into months of staged protests and publicity stunts," said Pascrell, who authored key provisions of Affordable Health Care for America Act as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. "The Republicans failed to propose a unified plan. In the meantime, the rest of us in Congress have held honest, open, and transparent discussion about their reform proposals all year long. Looking at this proposal, the only reasonable conclusion a person can draw is that the Republicans don't believe we need real reform."
Republican ideas in the Affordable Health Care for America Act:
The Affordable Health Care for America Act incorporates many Republican ideas including delivering reform without adding to the national deficit and reducing health care costs for years to come. States are able to enter into compacts allowing residents to buy insurance across state lines.
While the health care exchange and other market reforms are being established, those with pre-existing conditions will be covered through high-risk pools.
Small businesses are protected by tax credits and, in many cases, an exemption.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act also includes medical malpractice reforms, promotes job wellness programs, prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions and allows young people to stay on their parents' insurance policies through age 26.
What the Republicans' proposal would do:
The Republicans' bill would drive up health insurance costs for the sickest and most vulnerable individuals while eroding meaningful coverage that provides financial security when patients need it the most. The bill would encourage insurers to drop the sick and flock to states with the weakest regulations.
"This is a bail-out for insurance companies--relieving them of any responsibility to cover the individuals that need insurance the most," Pascrell said of the Republicans' proposal. "And while we all have had enough of frivolous lawsuits against health care providers, the Republicans are going too far in limiting legitimate medical liability claims."
What the Republican proposal would NOT do:
The Republicans' bill offers no protection to Americans from insurance companies that would cherry-pick customers and discriminate against high-risk patients. The Affordable Health Care for America Act ends insurers' discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, gender, and job.
The Republicans' bill does nothing to expand coverage, while the Affordable Health Care for America Act expands meaningful health insurance coverage to 96% of Americans.
The Republicans' bill does nothing to ensure access to meaningful coverage that works when Americans need it the most.