Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) slammed Republicans for failing to support the Affordable Care Act once it became law, challenging them to go back to their districts and tell their constituents that they’ll be taking away their coverage.
“What are you going to do about the approximately 17 million children with preexisting conditions who can no longer be denied health insurance coverage,” Parscrell asked the GOP during a House hearing on Obamacare. Standing up and pointing his finger at the other side of the aisle, he continued, “We want to go back and want to say you are no longer covered any longer — are you going to tell the parents of those kids?”
Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) tried to answer that question, highlighting GOP proposals to cover individuals with pre-existing condition. The reply sparked even greater outrage from Parscrell:
GRIFFIN: You asked a question and I’m going to answer it. It’s a false choice to say it’s Obamacare or nothing. There are numerous proposals including one that I’m a co-sponsor of…
PASCRELL: Are you serious what you just said? Are you really serious? After what we’ve gone through and what we’ve gone through in the last three and a half years? Have you — you can sit there and say, that you had a legitimate alternative after these years? We’ve gone through 44 votes, 48 votes now, of you trying to dismantle the legislation. You call that cooperation? I don’t!
Though Republicans never rallied around a single Obamacare alternative, Griffin did announce his support for The American Health Care Reform Act five days ago. That bill would allow insurers to deny sick people coverage, but provide “federal support for state high risk pools to $25 billion over 10 years.”
Obamacare had implemented a similar temporary program — the so-called Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), which served as a bridge for sick people who could not find individual coverage between 2010 and 2014 — but it ran out of money after too many sick people signed up for coverage. The experience showed that sick people are very expensive to insure — they spend all the premiums they contribute and then some. Without a mechanism that encourages younger and healthier individuals to buy coverage and spread the risk and cost of insurance, programs composed of very costly applicants are not sustainable.