Brooks to Vote Against Flawed American Health Care Act
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) announced today that he will vote against H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act.
Congressman Brooks stated:
“As much as I would like to vote with many of my Republican colleagues in Congress and in the White House (most of whom privately tell me they dislike the bad policy in this bill), I will vote against the American Health Care Act because it has more bad policy than any bill I have ever faced. I simply cannot, and will not, vote for bad legislation that hurts so many Americans solely because Washington friends and colleagues ask me to. While this bill has many major flaws, I emphasize just two:
1.ObamaCare 2.0 Increases Insurance Premiums by 15-20%
“For starters, and although deceptively marketed as a repeal of ObamaCare, H.R. 1628 does not repeal ObamaCare. To the contrary, it is called ‘ObamaCare Lite’ and ‘ObamaCare 2.0’ because it includes the very ObamaCare policies that jack up health care costs beyond the reach of so many struggling American families. For example, the current version of ObamaCare 2.0 mandates the so-called ObamaCare ‘Essential Health Benefits’ that, by way of but one example, force women senior citizens to pay for maternity benefits they don’t want and cannot use.
“As a result of how bad ObamaCare 2.0 is, both the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that ObamaCare 2.0 increases (not cuts) insurance premiums by 15-20% over the next two years,1 thus making health care more unaffordable for Americans.
“Not only does ObamaCare 2.0 include almost all of the bad ObamaCare policies that force higher costs, it similarly fails to include basic cost containment measures that help lower health care costs.
“For example, ObamaCare 2.0 does not force interstate health insurance competition that, in turn, forces lower health insurance prices.
“ObamaCare 2.0 does not repeal health care industry antitrust exemptions that allow health care oligopolies and monopolies that, in turn, drive up health care costs by suppressing cost-containing competition.
“Tennessee Valley citizens elected me to repeal ObamaCare and cut health care costs. I will vote against ObamaCare 2.0 in large part because Alabama citizens sent me to Congress to cut health care costs, not drive them up by yet another 15-20% over the next two years.
2.ObamaCare 2.0 is the Largest Republican Welfare Program in History
“ObamaCare 2.0 is the largest Republican welfare plan in the history of the Republican Party. As such, ObamaCare 2.0 undermines the work ethic and encourages more and more Americans to live off the hard work of others.
“The ObamaCare 2.0 welfare plan is horribly expensive, thus forcing the federal government to either raise taxes on struggling working American families or borrow more money, increase America’s debt, and accelerate the day America suffers from a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy. Robbing America’s children and grandchildren of their futures is unwise, cruel, and immoral.
“The ObamaCare 2.0 welfare plan turns tens of millions of voters into welfare dependents, thereby converting future elections into nonstop battles over who promises the most ‘free stuff’ health insurance subsidies and welfare. As such, ObamaCare 2.0 empowers and virtually guarantees the election of the Bernie Sanders’ Socialist wing of American society and the death of the free enterprise system that has made America the greatest economic power in world history.
“If anyone doubts the political dynamics of ObamaCare 2.0, let me cite proof. ObamaCare 2.0 was introduced just two weeks ago. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 2 ObamaCare 2.0 financial projections worsened by $187 billion in just two weeks (from the original version to this week’s) as Congressional politicians scrambled to promise more and more welfare to placate the imagined demands of projected welfare recipients. This two-week political dynamic is a microcosm of how anxious candidates and politicians will scramble to spend more and more welfare money that America does not have and must either borrow or raise taxes to get.
ObamaCare Repeal Bill and Discharge Petition
“Regardless of today’s vote, I have instructed my staff and Legislative Counsel to draft a bill that repeals ObamaCare effective December 31, 2017. The time between bill passage and the effective date gives Congress a deadline by which to pass laws to contain spiraling health care costs. I will introduce that ObamaCare repeal bill as soon as I get it.
“Let me be clear. A lot of Republican Congressmen campaigned to repeal ObamaCare, voted in 2015 to repeal ObamaCare (when it did not matter because of President Obama’s veto), yet insisted on preserving the worst of ObamaCare in ObamaCare 2.0.
“These Republican Congressmen who publicly oppose ObamaCare yet support it behind closed doors constitute a ‘Surrender Caucus’ that hopes the ObamaCare issue will simply go away. Inasmuch as ‘Surrender Caucus’ Members are in key legislative positions, I will file a discharge petition to by-pass their blockades in hopes of forcing a House Floor vote.
“If the American people want to repeal ObamaCare, this is their last, best chance during the 115th Congress. Those Congressmen who are sincere about repealing ObamaCare may prove it by signing the discharge petition. At a minimum, the discharge petition will, like the sun burning away the fog, show American voters who really wants to repeal ObamaCare and who merely acts that way during election time.”
1 CBO report, dated March 23, 2017: “In 2018 and 2019, according to CBO and JCT’s estimates, average premiums for single policyholders in the nongroup market would be 15 percent to 20 percent higher under the legislation than under current law.” While an argument can be made that premiums may stabilize after the initial two years, an equally persuasive argument can be made (based on political dynamics CBO is not allowed to consider) that premium stabilization is a mere hopeful wish that will never meet reality.
2 According to the comparison of the “Effects on the Federal Budget” portions of the CBO reports dated March 13, 2017 and March 23, 2017.