American Health Care Act Fails in House: Consumers Union Statement

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Health Care Act today was pulled from the floor after failing to garner enough support to pass.

Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, strongly opposed the bill, giving it a failing grade after evaluating it against the group’s principles for any replacement bill.  Below is a statement from Laura MacCleery, Vice President of Policy for Consumer Reports:

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“The American Health Care Act was pulled from the floor because it is a hugely flawed bill that would do nothing to lower healthcare costs for Americans.  This legislation would be a disaster for our health system — raising premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, gutting coverage for our most vulnerable and leaving tens of millions without any coverage at all, all while giving the wealthy billion-dollar tax breaks.  The attempt to rush it through the legislative process without any hearings or input from a broad group of stakeholders was as misguided as the legislation itself.

“We are hopeful that today will be a wake-up call for Congress.  Americans deserve real improvements to the care and coverage essential to our health and lives, not hurried, partisan politics.”

“Obamacare unfortunately will explode,” Mr. Trump said later. “It’s going to have a very bad year.” At some point, she said, after another round of big premium increases, “Democrats will come to us and say, ‘Look, let’s get together and get a great health care bill or plan that’s really great for the people of our country.’”

Mr. Trump expressed weariness with the effort, though its failure took a fraction of the time that Democrats devoted to enacting the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010. “It’s enough already,” the president said.

A major reason for the bill’s demise was the opposition of members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which wanted more aggressive steps to lower insurance costs and to dismantle federal regulation of insurance products.

In a day of high drama, Mr. Ryan rushed to the White House shortly after noon on Friday to tell Mr. Trump he did not have the votes for a repeal bill that had been promised for seven years — since Mr. Obama signed the landmark health care law. During a 3 p.m. phone call, the two men decided to withdraw the bill rather than watch its defeat on the House floor.

Mr. Trump later told journalists in the Oval Office that Republicans were 10 to 15 votes short of what they needed to pass the repeal bill.

The effort to win passage had been relentless, and hardly hidden. Vice President Mike Pence and Tom Price, the health secretary, visited Capitol Hill on Friday for a late appeal to House conservatives, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.