Today Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) voted against five bills in the Energy and Commerce Committee that would defund critical components of the Affordable Care Act, including public health programs, medical education grants, health center construction, teen pregnancy prevention programs, state health grants, and services to high-risk, vulnerable, and culturally under-represented populations.
"Republicans are eliminating the very programs designed to address the weaknesses in our health system--sky-rocketing healthcare costs, too few primary care doctors, and a lack of affordable healthcare options," Rep. Eshoo said. "It's another ill-considered, indiscriminate volley against the healthcare reform law, and it's based on ideology instead of reality. These votes occurred on the same day that Republicans introduced yet another proposal to privatize Medicare."
In the Republican Budget Plan announced today, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan proposed ending Medicare as we know it and converting it instead to a voucher program for seniors to purchase private insurance plans. Vouchers would not cover the full cost of coverage, eliminating Medicare's guarantee of comprehensive, affordable coverage for seniors.
The bills considered in the Energy and Commerce Committee defund the following:
1) Prevention and Public Health Fund which invests in prevention and public health programs to help restrain the rate of growth in healthcare costs. A report from Trust for America's Health concluded that an investment of $10 per person per year to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save more than $16 billion annually within 5 years--generating more than five dollars for every dollar spent.
2) Graduate Medical Education programs which expand training for primary care physicians, a field which only 12 percent of medical students choose as a career.
3) Personal Responsibility Education Program which invests in evidence-based, medically accurate teen pregnancy prevention programs, including information about both abstinence and contraception.
4) School-based health center construction which increases community access to clinical preventive services.
5) State-based Health Insurance Exchanges designed to lower costs, increase access, and provide Americans with the same healthcare options that Members of Congress receive.