Congressman Garamendi Votes Against Bill that Sets Stage for Up to 30 Million Americans to Lose their Health Insurance

Washington, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Davis, Yuba City, CA), who served eight years as California’s Insurance Commissioner, voted against S. Res. 3, the first step in the majority party’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. To date, no replacement plan has been presented, threatening the health insurance of up to 30 million Americans. The bill passed by a 227 to 198 vote, throwing America’s health insurance market into a period of volatile uncertainty.

“Over the course of six years, House Republicans have voted more than 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, yet we’ve never seen a comprehensive plan to replace it. Today’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act puts the insurance of up to 30 million Americans in jeopardy – 30 million Americans who would be one serious injury or disease away from destitution or worse,” Congressman Garamendi said.

He continued, “Prior to the Affordable Care Act, 45,000 Americans died every year due to a lack of health insurance and people with pre-existing conditions were routinely denied coverage. I’ve said from Day 1 that the Affordable Care Act can and should be improved, but we can’t go back to the dark days of regular denial of lifesaving medical care.”

On early Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted at 1:30 in the morning to also begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Both repeal votes were rushed in the first weeks of the new Congress without any committee hearings or an alternative to the existing system. By contrast, in considering the Affordable Care Act, the House held 79 bipartisan hearings and markups over the span of two years.

Affordable Care Act Facts

· Due to the ACA, the uninsured rate is now the lowest on record – with the uninsured rate currently at 8.6 percent. Under the ACA, the uninsured rate has been slashed almost in half from 16.3 percent in 2010 to 8.6 percent today.

· Overall, 20 million previously uninsured Americans have gained health insurance coverage since enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

· Since the enactment of the ACA, the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended by 11 years.

· More than 11 million seniors have saved more than $23.5 billion on their prescription drugs since 2010 – an average savings of more than $2,000 per senior.

· Under the ACA, unnecessary hospital readmissions in Medicare have fallen for the first time on record, dropping 8 percent between 2010 and 2015. Cumulatively since 2010, Medicare beneficiaries have avoided 565,000 hospital readmissions.

· Up to 129 million Americans have a pre-existing condition. Before the ACA, this group could have been denied coverage or charged an exorbitant premium if they needed individual market insurance. Now, health insurance companies cannot discriminate against people based on their medical history.  

· Before the ACA, 105 million Americans, most of them with employer coverage, had a lifetime limit on their insurance policy. The ACA prohibits annual and lifetime limits on policies.

· Since enactment of the ACA, health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years, resulting in savings for those with employer-based coverage.  The average family premium for family coverage rose only 3.4 percent in 2016 – compared to an average rate of 7.9 percent from 2000 to 2010.  Indeed, family premiums are $3,600 lower today than if growth had continued at the pre-ACA rates.

· Due to the ACA, all health plans now have limits on out-of-pocket costs, benefiting 22 million Americans with employer coverage who lacked this protection prior to the ACA.

· Under the ACA, health plans must cover preventive services – like flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms – at no extra cost to consumers, benefiting 137 million Americans, most of whom with employer coverage.

· An estimated 2.3 million young adults have benefited from the ACA provision allowing kids to stay on their parents’ health insurance up to age 26.

· 87,000 lives and nearly $20 billion have been saved, due to a 17 percent reduction in hospital-acquired conditions, such as infections, from 2010 to 2014, under the ACA.