In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed to provide access to affordable and quality health care to Americans. While not perfect, the ACA provides millions of Americans with access to health care and prohibits those with pre-existing coverage from being denied care. It also provides consumers with essential health benefits that must be covered by insurance companies, including critical services like mental health and maternity care. Unfortunately, since taking control of Congress, the Republicans have attacked the ACA and have been determined to strip health protections provided under the ACA.
For example, the Trump Administration denied funding for the cost sharing reductions to health insurers provided under the ACA that has allowed insurers to keep premiums down. Without these payments, many Americans will see their premiums rise. Republicans also repealed the provision of the ACA that provided for the responsibility of individuals to obtain health insurance, without this mandate, many individuals, mostly younger and healthier, will forgo insurance which in turn could drive up costs. The GOP has also made it easier for health insurers to offer very narrow insurance plans that do not cover essential health benefits.
In addition to rolling back protections under the ACA, since taking control of Congress and the White House, Republicans have proposed policies that attack women’s health, as well as Medicaid. For example, the Administration has allowed for employers to opt out of offering coverage that includes birth control and has continuously proposed to eliminate funding for critical family planning centers like Planned Parenthood. In every budget proposal, Republicans have planned to turn Medicaid into a block grant program and opened the door for states to put extreme restrictions on Medicaid beneficiaries, including work requirements. Both proposals mean less coverage for the most vulnerable. They have also used critical federal health programs, like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Community Health Centers, as political bargaining chips in budget discussions.
I vow to continue to fight against Republican efforts to repeal the ACA and restructure Medicaid. I also pledge to continue being an advocate for women’s health and programs that support our most vulnerable populations such as Community Health Services. It is important that these critical programs and continued lifesaving medical research receive the funding they need to ensure the health and wellbeing of communities like the 8th District. I am proud to have repeatedly supported robust funding for programs such as research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Alzheimer’s research, nursing workforce development, Tourette syndrome research, and HIV/AIDS programs.
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There was a lot of action in Washington this week as the House of Representatives considered immigration legislation, reconsidered the Farm Bill, and passed numerous bills related to the opioid crisis. Additionally, I attended hearings on U.S. policy in Afghanistan and pipeline safety, and held a number of meetings with diverse groups representing constituents from the 8th District, citizens around the country, and international delegations.
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Health insurance can protect you from astronomical costs when a serious accident or illness occurs. Did you know that the average cost for a three-day hospital stay is $30,000? Or that a broken leg can cost up to $7,500? Health insurance helps protect you from unexpected costs like these. Coverage could be more affordable than you think.
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While in Washington this week, I urged Speaker Ryan to reauthorize CHIP, cosponsored legislation to protect victims of domestic violence, and sent letters to the Administration asking them to restore policies that facilitate access to affordable contraception. I also voted on the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget and an Iran sanctions bill in addition to holding a number of meetings.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires voted against the House Republican budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 because it includes massive tax cuts for the wealthy while slashing vital services for the American people.