(Washington, DC) — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, went to the Senate floor with Democratic colleagues on Monday night to speak out against the steps taken by the Republicans in Congress to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Shaheen highlighted the impact that repeal of the healthcare law would have on hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters and millions across the U.S., especially those who struggle with addiction. “Repealing healthcare reform and denying treatment to people suffering from substance use disorders will cost lives and take a terrible toll in communities across America,” said Shaheen.
Shaheen drew attention to President-elect Trump’s repeated comments during campaign stops in New Hampshire, where he pledged to take action to combat the opioid epidemic. She also noted progress made to expand access to mental health coverage and addiction services made available through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act, which were hailed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
“Yet by repealing the Affordable Care Act, President-elect Trump and Republican leadership in Congress would make the opioid crisis much worse. Make no mistake: this would be a broken promise to communities all across this country struggling with addiction.”
On Sunday, USA Today published an article looking at the impact that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have on the opioid epidemic around the country, including in New Hampshire, writing that “almost any route taken on Capitol Hill leads to an unraveling of addiction and mental health coverage for these people.” Repealing the ACA would cause nearly 120,000 people to lose coverage in New Hampshire, where federal data shows a nearly 200% increase in overdose deaths in the last five years. In the Granite State, more than 48,000 Medicaid claims were submitted for substance use disorder in 2015.
Shaheen, on the Senate floor, called on her Republican colleagues to take bipartisan action to make commonsense improvements to the law, not repeal it altogether.“Sweeping reform is never flawless,” said Shaheen, noting that the ACA “is far from perfect.”
Shaheen cited her bipartisan work to improve the law with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) in 2015 to protect America’s small and mid-size businesses from potential health insurance premium increases. President Obama signed Shaheen’s bipartisan bill in December 2015.
On Monday morning, Sen. Shaheen visited a Planned parenthood clinic in Exeter to discuss the vital preventative healthcare services the clinic provides and what a repeal of the ACA would mean to the clinic’s patients. In her speech on the Senate Floor, Shaheen reflected on the stories she heard from women in the clinic and addressed the Republican leadership’s plan to defund Planned Parenthood as part of the budget reconciliation process while simultaneously repealing the ACA.
“This partisan move will cost women, and families access to preventative care, stability, and ultimately will cost lives,” said Shaheen.
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan, stripping away health insurance for tens of thousands of Granite Staters, and over thirty million Americans is counter intuitive, and dangerous,” said Shaheen. “We can do better in America.”