In a press conference Thursday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke out for seniors and disabled people whose health care would be at risk if the Affordable Care Act were repealed. If Republicans get their wish, Pelosi warned, what will happen is not a repeal and a replace, but a "cut and run" that will harm the most vulnerable.
.@HouseGOP wants to "cut and run." Cut Americans' health care benefits, and run from the consequences.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) January 12, 2017
In a press conference signaling that Democrats would fight hard to protect the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Nancy Pelosi stepped up to the plate to defend the ACA's achievements in care for seniors and disabled people.
Pelosi pointed out that the ACA "lower[ed] costs of prescription drugs, prolong[ed] the life of Medicare, expand[ed] Medicaid." She also said that many Americans have no idea what a prescription drug "donut hole" is because the ACA closed it so efficiently — meaning the ACA closed the gap between what was covered and what was available on the market.
Pelosi argued that Medicaid is a middle class initiative important for protecting seniors and disabled people:
Did you know that 50 percent – at least 50 percent of the funds used for nursing homes are funds that come from Medicaid? Medicaid is a middle class initiative. People think of it just as for the poor – but for seniors and people with disabilities, it is a major, major investment. So, when we expanded Medicaid, we expanded that opportunity. And again, the savings in Medicare are so important to prolong its life.
Important health care protections, like those eliminating pre-existing conditions, lifetime caps on care, and sustained funding of Medicare could be gone if Republicans are allowed to "cut and run," Pelosi said. And this would have devastating consequences for populations most in need of access to health care.
Pelosi summed up the Republican plan:
Cut the benefits, and run away from it. Cut the access to Medicare, and run away from it. Cut the advantages to Medicare, and run away from it. Cut all of the things we talk about in the Affordable Care Act. ...Cut the Affordable Care Act, in terms of its benefits, its number of people covered and its cutting of cost — cut those three priorities, and run from it. They can run from it, but they can’t hide from it.
Pelosi's advocacy on behalf of vulnerable populations is a stark juxtaposition to the GOP, who keep threatening a repeal, with very little expressed concern for the people who would be most harmed by it.
Her statements are a reminder of what we have to lose — ourselves, or people we love — if Republicans get their way.