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An Ice Bucket Challenge for Republicans in Congress

by Pablo Ros  |  March 14, 2017

Call it the CBO ice water bucket challenge for congressional Republicans.

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office – doing its job as the non-partisan agency in charge of providing budget analysis to Congress – handed House Republicans a bucket of ice-cold water.

According to the CBO, the Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, would leave 24 million people without health insurance by 2026.

Let that wash over you for a moment: 24 million people would lose health insurance if the House health care bill becomes law.

That includes 14 million fewer people covered by Medicaid, the government program that helps the most vulnerable in our society get the health care they need.

As AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders put it, the CBO’s assessment “further crystallizes the priorities of House leaders: to take away health care for millions of vulnerable Americans and use the savings to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations. Their plans to gut Medicaid and shift its costs to the states will prove particularly dangerous, not only threatening health services for children, seniors and people with disabilities, but also destabilizing state budgets.”

President Donald Trump and fellow Republicans are trying to undermine the CBO’s analysis, but anyone who has been paying attention to their theatrics can see right through this tactic.

“The CBO score is not up for negotiation, argument or interpretation,” Saunders said. “If congressional leaders choose to continue rushing this legislation forward, they do so knowing full well that their plan will cause real pain and exact a devastating human cost for millions of Americans.”

House Republicans should give themselves an ice-cold drenching. That may help them come to their senses.

But we won’t wait for them to do so. We will fight this bill. AFSCME is urging working families to voice their concerns to their representatives and demand that they oppose this horrific bill.

“Let’s keep the pressure up on members of Congress by flooding their phone lines, writing them letters and attending town halls,” Saunders said. “We can and must protect health care for 24 million fellow Americans.”

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