Strengthening the ACA

Rep. Katherine Clark
May 29 · 4 min read

Two years ago, House Republicans voted to strip away health care for 23 million Americans. Their vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would have gutted protections for pre-existing conditions, imposed an age tax on older Americans, and cut Medicaid funding for mental health services, the working poor, and people with disabilities. I will never forget the image of my Republican colleagues celebrating their deadly vote in the Rose Garden with President Trump as our office phones began ringing with calls of concern from families who were scared of losing their health care.

House GOP celebrating with President Trump while millions of people’s health care is up in the air.

I received a call from Jen, a young woman who was diagnosed with lupus and needed frequent tests and specialized care to manage her illness. When her first pregnancy was deemed high-risk, her baby had to spend its first 24 hours in the ICU. Without the ACA, would Jen and her baby be denied coverage?

I heard from a mother whose son had been struggling with substance use disorder and had found a treatment that he could afford but only because of the Medicaid expansion granted under the ACA. With the passage of this bill, would her son’s treatment be at risk?

I heard from parents whose daughter had leukemia and needed frequent overnight hospital stays. Would repealing the ACA mean higher medical bills for their daughter’s treatment?

At a Massachusetts Senior Action Council event where proposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security are critical issues.

This vote sent shock waves through the Capitol. As members of Congress, we are sent to Washington to look out for families and make their lives easier — not rip away the services and care they rely on.

Although their disastrous bill was voted down in the Senate, President Trump and Republicans haven’t stopped their attacks on the ACA, and they are currently in court trying to overturn the entire law.

That’s where House Democrats come in. Democrats were voted into the majority by a wave of midterm voters angered by the relentless assault on their health care. Over the past few months, House Democrats have made strengthening our health care system our top priority. We’ve passed a slate of legislation to tackle the rising cost of health care and protect access to care.

Standing with Rep. Allred, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Schumer to introduce our resolution to condemn the administration’s efforts to fight the ACA in court.

In the first five months of the House Democratic majority:

  • We passed a resolution to condemn the Trump administration’s legal campaign to gut the ACA and allow a child with asthma or a mom with cancer to be denied coverage for having a pre-existing condition.
  • We passed the MORE Health Education Act that restores funding mandated under the ACA to conduct outreach and promote enrollment in health care insurance to uninsured and underinsured communities. By insuring more Americans, we are getting families the preventative care they need, while lowering costs for everyone.
  • Democrats passed the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act that prevents the expansion of junk health insurance plans that provide few basic health care services and leave patients with hefty bills. These limited coverage plans don’t cover basic family needs like maternal care, protections for people with pre-existing conditions, or coverage for children with complex medical needs.
Speaking at a House Democratic press conference about our plans to expand coverage, lower drug prices, and protect people with pre-existing conditions.
  • We also passed the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, a bill lowering prescription drug prices by reducing the barrier of entry for generic drugs to enter the market. This bill would save Americans $4 billion on prescriptions over the next decade.
  • And finally, just last week, the House passed the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act, a package of bills that will reverse the administration’s actions to sabotage health care by increasing the size of the tax credit under the ACA, creating a national reinsurance program to help cover those with expensive conditions, and offering funding to states to establish state-based marketplaces with lower premiums.

We will not allow the Republicans to take us back to the days when your zip code, income, or bill of health determined how much you paid for insurance and the kind of care you received. We will not back down on demanding Republican leadership in the Senate bring these critical measures up for a vote. House Democrats will come together to ensure that health care is a right for all, not a privilege for a few.

Rep. Katherine Clark

Written by

Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Proudly representing the people of MA’s 5th District.

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