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September 19, 2017

On Senate Floor, King Calls New Proposal to Repeal the Affordable Care Act “The Great Health Care Skedaddle”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate in response to yet another iteration of a health care proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

     “Mr. President, over the past several weeks there have been real discussions, bipartisan discussions about fixing the problems in the affordable care act, about controlling the growth of premiums, about being sure that there is some certainty in the market to prevent the collapse of the individual market which, by the way, will not only affect people who are participating in the Affordable Care Act exchanges, but will affect all those in the individual market,” Senator King said. “And we could stop that. The Senate Health Committee had four days of hearings and round tables coffees with other Senators to talk about what are the problems, what can we do to solve them. And we were making some real progress. And then all of a sudden up comes Trumpcare 4.0, or 5.0. I've lost track. Another bill to essentially repeal and not replace the Affordable Care Act. 

     “On July 21, 1861, there was an occurrence at the beginning of the American Civil War. It was the First Battle of Bull Run, and the Union Troops were routed that day and there was a disorganized retreat back towards Washington. That's been known historically as the great skedaddle. That's exactly what is happening again today, this is the Great Health Care Skedaddle, because what the Senate Majority is doing is avoiding responsibility. 

     “You don't want to be discriminated against because of preexisting conditions? Well, that's not our decision, we're passing it on to the governor. The governor can make that decision, it's not us doing it. You don't want to have the bans for the differential between young people and old people changed so elderly people pay twice, three times, four times, five times as much as young people for health insurance? You don't want responsibility for that? Fine. Pass this bill and give it to the governors. That's what we're talking about here, is a cop-out. It is the senate majority once again trying to jam down the throats of the American people a change they don't want.”

The Graham-Cassidy Proposal, introduced last week, would take all funding for ACA and Medicaid and convert them into an underfunded block grant program. Funding for Graham-Cassidy ends in 2027, leaving states with obligations for health care coverage and responsibility to fund them. This move would have devastating consequences for Maine’s rural hospitals and low-income and working people. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the bill is projected to cut more than $1 billion in health care funds to Maine by the year 2027.


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