Health

Al Franken Denounces Health Care Bill

| by Jordan Smith

Democratic Sen. Al Franken delivered a Senate floor speech on May 24 in which he denounced the Republicans' proposal to reform Obamacare.

Franken stated that the American Health Care Act would represent a step backwards and endanger rural communities, according to Senate.gov:

The Republican plan covers fewer people, costs too many people more, and provides worse coverage. And it's being sold by misleading people on each of those points ...

This bill would take us back in time and roll back our progress. It is up to us, here in the Senate, to stop that from happening. This bill is literally sickening. It is vicious, it is cruel, and it should never be passed into law. I urge my Republican colleagues to walk away from this cruel effort. And work with us to actually improve health care for Americans. And I urge everyone considering this bill to be straight with the American people about exactly what this bill would do to them.

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The same day Franken spoke, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released an estimate projecting that 23 million more people would be uninsured under the Republicans' American Health Care Act than under Obamacare. Republicans were criticized for voting on the bill in the House before the CBO estimate was published.

Speaking following the CBO announcement, House Speaker Paul Ryan defended the bill, arguing it achieved a key Republican promise to bring down the cost of insurance premiums.

Republican senators are also coming under pressure from interest groups to oppose the health care bill.

The AARP, an advocacy group for older people, has begun an ad campaign which is aimed at persuading five Republican senators not to back the legislation. The AARP has pointed to the provision in the House bill that would permit insurers to charge elderly people five times more than younger adults, a measure it has termed an "age tax," according to The Hill.

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"Older Americans are very worried about the cost of their health insurance," AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said. "AARP is taking a strong stand against the American Health Care Act for one simple reason: it is a bad bill."

Even some Senate Republicans are distancing themselves from the House legislation.

"We all understand that the House bill has to be essentially rewritten," Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who is a part of the working group coming up with a bill for the Senate, told Fox News.

Sources: Al Franken, The Hill, Fox News / Photo credit: Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons

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