Representative Dwight Evans

Representing the 2nd District of Pennsylvania
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The resistance is working as Republicans pull healthcare bill

March 27, 2017
In The News

Congressman Dwight Evans Op-Ed:

Last week marked the seven-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. A law that many argue is one of the crowning achievements of President Barack Obama’s legacy.

For the last seven years, Republicans in the House and Senate have talked about their plan to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, “ObamaCare”, and replace it with a law that cuts costs and covers more Americans.

Yet, the Republican repeal and replace health care law titled, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), does nothing of the sort.

With majority control of both chambers of Congress and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, why on earth was Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) forced to pull the healthcare bill from the floor Friday afternoon?

The answer is: the resistance is working.

Let’s be clear, the Republican AHCA would have taken away essential health benefits and services from 24 million Americans young and old.

Essential health benefits include: maternity care, prescription drug coverage, and emergency room visits, to name a few of the highlights. The Republican plan would have essentially stripped coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Speaker Ryan and President Trump’s attempt to strip 24 million Americans of the health coverage they received over the last seven years as a result of the Affordable Care Act is just plain wrong.

A plan that cuts essential health benefits from the most vulnerable members of our communities, the poor, our seniors, people with pre-existing conditions and our working class families, is not a suitable health plan for the American people.

Friday’s decision by Republican leadership in the House and President Trump to pull the bill from the House floor demonstrates what we have long known—the American people want and deserve quality healthcare at an affordable cost.

Friday’s decision was a small victory for the resistance. It symbolized that Speaker Ryan and President Trump have heard our message that healthcare is an essential right and their plan to take this essential right away from the American people is not something we would take lightly.

It's no coincidence that since the Republicans released their repeal and replace healthcare law, more than 5,000 people contacted my Washington, D.C. office to express their staunch opposition to the AHCA bill.

Please know your voices are being heard and your actions are not going unnoticed.

In reflecting on how we saw the healthcare law unravel last week, I am reminded of what President Trump said in an interview with Michael Scherer, the Washington Bureau Chief for TIME Magazine, last week.

In speaking with TIME, President Trump said, “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”

According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, roughly a quarter of a million Philadelphians would lose their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act had been repealed without an adequate replacement. Yet, our president says, “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”

My District, the 2nd District of Pennsylvania, has a poverty rate of a little over 28 percent; just under 200,000 people, many of whom directly benefit from either Medicaid or Medicare and stood to be directly impacted by this ill-advised health care law.

Yet, our president says, “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under the AHCA health law, Pennsylvania residents would have seen premium rate hikes that made them pay between $750 to $1,003 for health insurance in 2018 alone.

The reality is the president is a public servant to the American people first and foremost and should be doing everything in his power to make sure we are all in this fight together.

Last week was indeed a victory for the resistance but we are reminded that our work is just beginning.

We need to continue to amplify our voices to make it known that policies that do not help hardworking Americans trying their hardest to do what is in the best interest of themselves and their families is not suitable policy for the American people.