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Higgins calls latest healthcare proposal “deceitful”


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Amid reports of renewed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) issued a statement indicating that details of the latest Republican healthcare plan indicate a move to take away basic benefits and cost Americans dearly.

Members of the House of Representative's conservative Freedom Caucus and White House leaders, including Vice President Pence, met this week to discuss the latest proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. This follows the majority's failed attempt to pass the American Health Care Act nearly two weeks ago.  Reports indicate a new Republican plan would allow for the elimination of essential benefit coverage, which requires coverage for: prescription drugs; emergency care and hospitalization; maternity, newborn and pediatric care; and substance use and mental health services.  They would also allow for the elimination of the "community rating" requirement, which prevents insurance companies from charging sick people more.

Congressman Higgins made the following remarks on the House Floor:

"Mr. Speaker: The word coming out of the White House and House Republicans is that there is a new healthcare proposal.  This bill would obliterate the patient protections for preexisting conditions and eviscerate the central benefits and cost controls.

"Under the new healthcare scam insurance companies could opt-out of all consumer protections.  In other words, insurance companies could write fake policies with big premiums and little or no coverage.

"Mr. Speaker, under this plan a parent of a kid who is stuck with childhood cancer could still buy a policy, but the policy is worthless because the policy would not have to cover their children's cancer treatment.

"This is how House Republicans and the insurance lobby plan to get out from under their obligation to cover preexisting conditions.  More power for the insurance companies and less protection for good people, the American people who play by the rules.

"This plan should be rejected again.  It is deceitful, cold, cruel and wrong."

Higgins is a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means which has jurisdiction over healthcare legislation.