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Committee Leaders Call for Hearings on Impact of ACA Repeal Before Any Action in the House

Jan 12, 2017
Press Release
“The public deserves thorough and complete information on how working families will fare compared to today if the law is repealed.”

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), and Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent a letter to the Chairmen of their respective committees today requesting public hearings immediately on the impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through budget reconciliation.  The three Democratic Committee leaders wrote that public deliberations are essential before any action is taken.

“Given the dramatic and unprecedented nature of the changes the Republicans are proposing, namely taking insurance and financial security away from millions of Americans, we ask that regular order be followed,” the members wrote.  “The public deserves thorough and complete information on how working families will fare compared to today if the law is repealed.  We look forward to a thorough and open policy debate on this issue and ask for you to call hearings immediately in our committees on the impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act through budget reconciliation before further consideration in committees or on the House floor.”

The members note in the letter that when the ACA was passed in the 111th Congress both the House and Senate ensured an open and transparent legislative process.  During consideration of the law, the House held 79 committee hearings and markups and the original House bill was posted online for the public to see for 30 days before the first committee markup. 

The full text of the letter is enclosed below:

Dear Chairman Brady, Chairman Walden, and Chairwoman Foxx:

As we begin our work in the new Congress, we call on you to ensure a transparent and public process for all legislative and committee activity. The Majority has declared its intent to immediately pass legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement as one of the first orders of business for the 115th Congress. Given the vast impact this law has on working, middle-class families, local economies, state budgets, and some of the sickest and most vulnerable Americans among us, public deliberations are essential before any action is taken.

Your actions to repeal the ACA without replacement would double the number of uninsured by 2019, leaving more Americans uninsured than before the passage of the ACA.  That means millions of Americans with health insurance today will lose their coverage. We also know that more than eight in ten of those who would lose coverage by undoing the current law are in working families. Our constituents deserve a thorough exploration of the exact ramifications of repeal for them, their communities, as well as their local and state economies.

Health care means life or death for American families. It is also nearly 18 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. Often, a hospital or health system is the largest employer in a county or town.  We cannot afford to be capricious with our approach to health care. Efforts to repeal the ACA, create chaos in the insurance market, or undo insurance coverage are more than an ideological war. They could endanger jobs and threaten communities.

When the 111th Congress passed the ACA, House and Senate Democrats ensured an open and transparent process. The House held 79 committee hearings and markups over a two-year period. The original House bill was posted online for the public to see for 30 days before the first committee held a markup.

Given the dramatic and unprecedented nature of the changes the Republicans are proposing, namely taking insurance and financial security away from millions of Americans, we ask that regular order be followed. This should be true for any budget resolution and reconciliation instructions, as well as for any replacement plan, should the Republicans propose one. The public deserves thorough and complete information on how working families will fare compared to today if the law is repealed. We look forward to a thorough and open policy debate on this issue and ask for you to call hearings immediately in our committees on the impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act through budget reconciliation before further consideration in committees or on the House floor.

 

Sincerely,

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