Former President Barack Obama on Thursday denounced the Senate proposal to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, calling the Republican bill a massive transfer of wealth to the richest people in America with a “fundamental meanness” at its core.
“I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party,” Obama wrote in a Facebook post. “Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.”
Senate GOP leaders unveiled the 142-page proposed ACA replacement Thursday. It would repeal the ACA’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance, make deep cuts to Medicaid and withhold federal funding to Planned Parenthood for a year.
“The Senate bill … is not a health care bill,” Obama wrote. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.
“It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.”
He acknowledged that Republicans have long promised to repeal the ACA, but urged lawmakers to put aside partisan politics while working to address America’s health care system.
“I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake and consider that the rationale for action, on healthcare or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did,” he wrote.
As he has multiple times since the ACA’s passage in 2010, Obama conceded that the bill was less than perfect and vowed to support any Republican-backed bill that “is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost.”
“I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse,” he wrote.
He called on citizens to pressure lawmakers into working with each other by calling and visiting members of Congress and sharing their stories about how the proposed bill will affect them.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he hopes to bring the GOP bill to a vote before Congress breaks for its Fourth of July recess.