Repealing the Affordable Care Act is an “old political battle” that will “strip people of new coverage,” White House officials and congressional Democrats said on a press call Thursday.
“We’re hoping that Republicans will come to their senses and realize how valuable the Affordable Care Act is to the American people, not because the Democrats say so but because the American people believe it,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas.
Among the benefits touted by the administration are the 129 million Americans with preexisting conditions — including 17 million children — who have access to health insurance; the 71 million Americans on private insurance who have benefited from at least one free preventive service; and the 3 million young adults who were allowed to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26.
Also on the call was Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., a proponent of mental-health reform and the leader behind the Affordable Care Act’s mental-health parity provision, which provides 60 million Americans access to mental-health and substance-use-disorder services covered by insurance companies at the same rate as other health care services.
“I’ve heard about people who had coverage and they thought it was OK, but then they got sick and got dropped”¦. [There were] many concerns from seniors about high prescription drug costs”¦.This is all changing,” Stabenow said.
The White House’s efforts to drum up attention about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act follow a renewed effort by Republicans to stop the president’s signature law. Sen. John McCain of Arizona on Wednesday introduced a Senate companion bill to the House’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace proposal from Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.
McCain said the law has been a disappointment for Americans who liked their coverage and wanted to keep it. But, the White House responded, repeal would “remove or eliminate” benefits some Americans are already receiving from the law.
“I do admit there are problems, but I say we have to roll up our sleeves together as Americans and fix them,” said Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa.
Coverage under the law begins as early as Jan. 1 for consumers who sign up by Dec. 23. The repeal-and-replace proposal could come up as early as Jan. 6, when the Senate returns from the holiday recess.
What We're Following See More »
"Even as he acknowledged the importance of an open internet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday set his telecom agency on a course to scrap the tough, broad net neutrality protections imposed by the Obama administration. During a major speech in Washington, D.C., Pai outlined the need for a total revision of existing federal rules that seek to prevent companies like AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon from blocking or slowing down web content, including the movie or music offerings from their competitors." Separately, Pai told Reason's Nick Gillespie that the Clinton Administration "basically got it right when it came to digital infrastructure. We were not living in a digital dystopia in the years leading up to 2015."
The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement today established the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE), as called for in a presidential executive order from January. The new office's website states that its staff "will be guided by a singular, straightforward mission—to ensure victims and their families have access to releasable information about a perpetrator and to offer assistance explaining the immigration removal process."