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Rep. Engel - Taking Away Health Care from 30 Million Americans is a Waste of the People's Time

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY17) criticized the Republicans for producing political theater as their first major act of governing. Their quixotic repeal of the landmark Affordable Care Act, is simply a "charade" and a terrible way to show the American people that they plan to work together with Democrats to fix the many problems facing our nation, Rep. Engel said.

"If the Republican majority was serious about working with Democrats, as beautifully articulated on the House floor last week following the Tucson tragedy, they have picked a strange way to show it. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act has as much of a chance of becoming law as I have of becoming King of England. It is a waste of the people's time to be here today voting on a purely political bill which has a snowball's chance of passing the Senate, and no chance of being signed into law by the President.

"This repeal could be a death sentence for some Americans, and it would certainly bankrupt others, if it became law. It is irresponsible governance and diverts the focus from putting Americans back to work, and instead would put millions of others out of work," added Rep. Engel. To view his comments from the House floor --

"The Republican "We Don't Care Act' would take away health care from over 30 million people, forcibly remove young adults, up to age 26, from their parents' health plans, leaving them vulnerable to health crises, reopen the "donut' hole to increase costs to seniors for prescription drugs, and empower insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions -- which includes HALF of the American population. Today they voted to do all of these things.

"If Republicans are serious about reform -- and I doubt they are since during the many years they were in charge, they did nothing to reform the flawed system -- then they should be working with us to change parts of the bill. Certainly there are ways we can come together and do that, but it is apparent by this vote that they have no intention of doing so. Instead of governing, they would rather put on a show.

"I urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to file this bill in the proper place -- his trash can. He should ignore the hypocrisy of Republicans who are demanding an up and down vote on this bill, considering the Senate Republican minority blocked hundreds of bills in the last two years for purely political purposes."

The reality for Americans is that repealing the Affordable Care Act would:

* Raise the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million -- once again placing the burden of care upon more expensive emergency rooms.
* Explode the deficit by $230 billion by 2021, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
* Re-open the "donut" hole for Medicare Part D prescription drugs increasing costs for millions of seniors,
* Force young Americans up to 26 years old to be removed from their parents' plans and be on their own should catastrophic health issues occur,
* Empower insurance companies to deny ailing Americans with pre-existing conditions, and to cap the coverage of others who are in great need of care,
* Increase the taxes on small businesses who provide health care for their employees,
* Halt the preventative cancer screenings and annual check-ups for seniors,
* Force high-risk Medicare patients who are hospitalized to be continually readmitted, rather than allow for comparable services in community care programs,
* Stop advances in health care technology rather than looking ahead at new and innovative ways to care for Americans in the 21st century and beyond.

For District 17 in New York (Bronx, Rockland, Westchester Counties), the consequences of repeal would mean:

* Up to 289,000 people would be vulnerable to coverage denials from insurance companies, including up to 42,000 children, due to pre-existing conditions,
* 400,000 people would lose consumer protections from their employer-based insurance or private insurance,
* Up to 15,000 small businesses and 136,000 families would lose health care tax credits,
* 7,000 seniors would pay more for prescription drugs from the re-opening of the "donut" hole in the Medicare Part D drug plan,
* 91,000 seniors would be denied preventative care benefits, halting treatments which could nip devastating diseases in the bud,
* 9,300 early retirees would have their health costs increased
* 2,700 young adults would have their new health coverage eliminated,
* 49,000 more people would be left without health insurance
* $312 million annually would be added to the costs of local hospitals to provide uncompensated care.

"I call on my Republican colleagues to come forward with something better. If they have a plan to cover the 30 million people we are covering, and are able to do so with a Congressional Budget Office score better than ours, then I welcome the discussion.

"This is both hypocrisy at its worst, and an example of bad government. If this is going to be the legacy of the 112th Congress, then it is going to be a long two years for the American people," added Rep. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

A List of More Than 200 Organizations Opposed to
H.R. 2, Patients' Rights Repeal Act




AIDS United

Alliance For A Just Society

Alliance for Children and Families

Alliance for Retired Americans

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

American Academy of Family Physicians

American Art Therapy Association

American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry

American Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation

American Association of Pastoral Counselors

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Association on Health and Disability

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

American Counseling Association

American Dance Therapy Association

American Diabetes Association

American Federation of Teachers

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention/SPAN USA

American Group Psychotherapy Association

American Heart Association

American Lung Association

American Mental Health Counselors Association

American Muslim Health Professionals

American Nurses Association

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychiatric Nurses Association

American Psychological Association

American Public Health Association

American Small Business League

Anxiety Disorders Association of America

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare

Association for Community Affiliated Plans

Association for the Advancement of Psychology

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN)

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Black Women's Health Imperative

B'nai B'rith International

California Primary Care Association

California Rural Indian Health Board

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Campus Progress

Catholic Health Association

Catholics United

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Center for Clinical Social Work

Center for Community Change

Center for Integrated Behavioral Health Policy

Center for Medicare Advocacy

Center for Reproductive Rights

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Centers for Community Change

CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Inc)

Child Welfare League of America

Childbirth Connection

Children's Defense Fund

Children's Dental Health Project

Children's Health Fund

Clinical Social Work Association

Clinical Social Work Guild 49, OPEIU

Coalition on Human Needs

CommonHealth ACTION

Communication Workers of America

Community Action Partnership

Community Catalyst

Community Organizations in Action

Consumer Action

Consumers Union

Corporation for Supportive Housing

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Direct Care Alliance

Disability Rights Wisconsin

Doctors for America

Easter Seals

Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action

Every Child Matters Education Fund

Faith in Public Life

Faithful America

Faithful Reform in Health Care

Families USA

Health Care for America Now

Herndon Alliance

HIV Health and Human Services Planning Council of New York (Planning Council)

Japanese American Citizens League

Jewish Women International

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

Leadership Council on Aging Organizations (65 organizations)

Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights

League of Women Voters of the U.S.


Main Street Alliance

Maryland Women's Coalition for Health Care Reform

Mautner Project: The National Lesbian Health Organization

Medicare Rights Center

Mental Health America


Montana Women Vote


NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals

NARAL Pro-Choice America

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum

National Association for Children's Behavioral Health

National Association for Rural Mental Health

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders -- ANAD

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)

National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

National Association of Community Health Centers

National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors

National Association of Mental Health Planning & Advisory Councils

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems

National Association of Social Workers

National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors

National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS

National Coalition for LGBT Health

National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery

National Coalition on Health Care

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

National Consumers League

National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

National Council of API Physicians

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council of La Raza

National Council of Urban Indian Health

National Council on Aging

National Council on Problem Gambling

National Disability Rights Network

National Education Association

National Farmers Union

National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health

National Foundation for Mental Health

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

National Health Law Program

National Hemophilia Foundation

National Hispanic Medical Association

National Indian Health Board

National Institute for Reproductive Health

National Latina Health Network

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

National Medical Association

National Minority AIDS Council

National Network of Public Health Institutes

National Organization for Women

National Partnership for Women and Families

National Physicians Alliance

National Puerto Rican Coalition

National Research Center for Women & Families/Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund

National Senior Citizens Law Center

National Spinal Cord Injury Association

National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable

National WIC Association

National Women's Health Network

National Women's Law Center (and 37 other orgs)


Out of Many, One

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Partnership for Prevention

PHI (Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute)

Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health


Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Prevention Institute

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