Several D.C. political sources are reporting today that Speaker Paul Ryan threatened Rep. Frelinghuysen with the loss of his powerful Appropriations Chairmanship unless he flips his opposition to the AHCA and instead supports it. If the Congressman truly represents his constituents, he must face down Ryan’s threat and continue to oppose Trumpcare, which would be disastrous for New Jersey and the country.
This amended AHCA bill, endorsed by the conservative Freedom Caucus Republicans, is even worse than the late March effort that Frelinghuysen called "unacceptable." By allowing states to acquire waivers on core provisions of the current law, it essentially removes the most crucial and popular protections.
As a result, the new bill provides:
NO guaranteed protections for pre-existing conditions
NO universal enforcement of essential health benefits, including drug treatment programs and prenatal care
NO protections for overcharging women and others
NO protections against increasing costs and diminishing quality of insurance for people who need health care coverage the most.
Although the revised bill has not yet been vetted by the Congressional Budget Office, the GOP party leadership is again jamming the bill through an arm-twisting vote without assessment on how it will actually affect costs and healthcare for Americans.
Everything that made this bill unacceptable to Rep. Frelinghuysen the first time around remains in this latest effort. Trumpcare would still cause a minimum of 24 million Americans, including half a million New Jersey residents, to lose their health insurance. If Rep. Frelinghuysen changes his opposition to the AHCA, we can only conclude that he yielded to the threatened loss of his powerful position and put political aspirations ahead of his district.
Representative Frelinghuysen must keep his word and maintain his stated opposition to the AHCA. Stand for us. Don’t trade our health care to appease the Party’s extremists. No Chairman’s gavel is worth human lives.