Trumpcare Twins slink back to Washington
DFL Chair: Trumpcare Twins slink back to Washington
While Congress was in recess last week, Representatives across the country returned home to their districts. Many held town halls to hear directly from the people who elected them, but not Representatives Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis. While every other elected official in Minnesota’s Congressional delegation has held town halls this year, Paulsen and Lewis refuse. Why do they continue to dodge their constituents? I think I have an idea.
After seven years of viciously campaigning against the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress were desperate to jam through any alternative to the health care bill. Instead of making measured improvements to the existing law, they voted to completely dismantle our nation’s health care system and hastily slapped together the American Health Coverage Act (AHCA) as a replacement.
This haphazard bill has serious consequences in the lives of everyday Minnesotans. The Congressional Budget Office, Congress’s non-partisan economists, recently reported that the Republican health care bill would strip health insurance away from 23 million Americans. More than 250,000 Minnesotans would lose their health insurance—including more than 28,000 Minnesotans in Representative Paulsen’s district and 27,700 in Representative Lewis’s district.
Even for those fortunate Minnesotans who are able to keep their health insurance, their premiums could skyrocket up to $878 every month. Minnesotans aged 50 to 64 years old would be forced to pay premiums five times higher than what others pay. Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions like cancer, asthma, diabetes or pregnancy would no longer be guaranteed coverage. And hardworking families across the state would see higher out-of-pocket costs through increased premiums, deductibles and prescription drug costs—effectively pricing them out of health care.
Paulsen and Lewis not only voted for this bill, they championed it. They voted to strip health insurance from hundreds of thousands of people in our state. They voted to increase premiums. They voted to leave Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions out in the cold. And when this devastating bill passed the House, what did Representative Lewis do? He stood up, and he cheered.
Minnesotans, however, are not cheering. With the future of their health care at stake, many are up in arms. After Paulsen and Lewis voted for the bill, thousands took to their Facebook pages to express their deep disappointment, voice their anxiety for what it will mean for Minnesota, and share their personal stories about how this bill would harm their family.
So it’s no wonder the Trumpcare Twins stayed in hiding this recess period. How could they look Minnesotans in the eye? Minnesotans sent them to Washington to fight for them, and instead they’re fighting for a bill that could put their very health in jeopardy. Everyone deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care. And if someone votes to take it away, the Minnesotans who put them there—at the very least—deserve to hear why.