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GOP ‘Make America Sick Again’ Budget Is a Wasted Opportunity

Jan 10, 2017

FY17 Republican Budget – January 2017

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The House is expected to vote this week on a 2017 budget resolution that Republicans wrote for the sole purpose of tearing down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and defunding Planned Parenthood by a simple majority in the Senate. Republicans’ foremost budgetary priority is to take away affordable health coverage from millions of people and put insurance companies back in charge. This so-called budget squanders a chance for this new Congress and incoming Administration to start out by addressing the concerns of the American people in a constructive and bipartisan way. And the budget demonstrates that Republicans only care about deficits and debt when it is politically convenient.

Tears apart health care coverage for millions of Americans with no replacement plan in sight

Republicans clearly do not have a plan to replace the ACA, period. If Republicans really think they can do better, they should show us the plan they have been promising for years. Repealing the ACA coverage expansions without a comprehensive replacement will cause chaos. Nearly 30 million people would lose coverage, including 4 million kids. Hospitals would face a spike in uncompensated care, resulting in some combination of reduced service, job cuts, and higher prices for everyone else. People with insurance through their jobs also stand to lose if Congress repeals the ACA in full: insurers could once again impose lifetime limits on coverage or charge copayments for life-saving preventive care, for example.

Time wasted repealing people’s health coverage could be put to much better use

America is stronger when Members of Congress work together in a good-faith effort to address the challenges facing this country. For example, Members of Congress in both parties and the President-elect have expressed support for beefing up investments in roads, ports, and other physical assets that are critical to a strong economic future. This presents a unique opportunity for the new Congress and the incoming Administration to start off on a bipartisan footing. But instead, Republicans in Congress are starting off by voting to take health care away from millions of people. Everyday Americans have made it clear that they want to see the health care law improved, not repealed. It is not clear whose interests Republicans think they are serving with their endless anti-ACA crusade, because it certainly is not serving the interests of their constituents who rely on the ACA for health coverage.

Republicans suddenly do not care about deficits and debt

For years, House Republicans have voted for scorched-earth budgets that claimed to reduce deficits dramatically by gutting programs for working families and those struggling to make ends meet, making seniors pay more for Medicare, and slashing education and other investments critical to America’s long-run economic strength. Meanwhile, these budgets called for no contribution to deficit reduction at all from limiting tax breaks for billionaires. But their new 2017 budget ignores all of that. By 2026, publicly held debt under their budget would be $2 trillion higher than under President Obama’s 2017 budget.