Smith Statement on Republican Plan to Replace the Affordable Care Act
“I am strongly opposed to the Republican plan to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ‘Obamacare.’ This legislation, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), introduced earlier this month, would take health insurance away from millions of people, hurt low-income and older Americans, and create considerable uncertainty about health care and insurance.
“I am very concerned about the potential impact of the AHCA. Despite promises made by House Republicans, individuals with pre-existing conditions and others who gained healthcare under the ACA will be at risk of the quality of their coverage being reduced or losing health insurance entirely. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 14 million more people would be uninsured in just the first year of enactment of the AHCA but that 24 million in total are estimated to lose coverage over the next ten years. Insurance companies would be allowed to charge higher premiums for older Americans as well as those who lapse in coverage. It would cut $170 billion from the Medicare Trust Fund, putting at risk coverage for 57 million Americans. Additionally, the AHCA eliminates the ACA’s Medicaid expansion; which has extended coverage to over 59,000 constituents of the Ninth Congressional District of Washington. Many more individuals could also be negatively impacted if, as many fear, this legislation upends the broader health care and insurance marketplace; leading to higher costs and reduced access to care for all. The Republican plan benefits those who are young, healthy, or those who are wealthy at the sacrifice of those who are not.
“I supported the passage and enactment of the ACA in 2010. It is one of the most important steps taken in many years to reform health care and health insurance, as well as to address serious problems with our health care system. Prior to the enactment of the ACA, health care costs were rapidly increasing, government budgets were straining under health costs, and many patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, were unable to access affordable health coverage. We needed action on these tough issues.
“Repealing the ACA would take us back to a time where millions of Americans were uninsured. The ACA is not perfect and we still have a long way to go to improve our health care system to increase access and bring costs down. I support addressing those provisions of the health care law that are burdensome to individuals and problematic for businesses.
“We should not, however, repeal the entire law or weaken its core tenets. We simply cannot revert to an old health care system that allows costs to increase unchecked, insures too few, and drains our economy while providing us too little in return.
“I will work to ensure that health care remains affordable and accessible to everyone. Eliminating the ACA would hurt the millions of Americans who depend on the many positive aspects of the law and could leave our health care system in a state of disarray and dysfunction. I will do everything in my power as a Member of Congress to protect our most vulnerable citizens and access to affordable and quality health care coverage.”