SACRAMENTO – The California State Senate approved Senate Resolution 41 on Monday, calling on the U.S. Senate to be more open and transparent with the public in its ongoing negotiations surrounding the American Healthcare Act.
The resolution, which passed in a bipartisan fashion on a 28-7 vote, calls on the U.S. Senate to include healthcare providers, consumers and other stakeholders in the policy process and to reject any measure that would result in loss of coverage or weakened protections for the millions of Americans that have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act.
“Senate Republicans should own their bill and stop hiding it from us,” Senate Leader Kevin de León said. “They refuse to hold a single public hearing or share the bill language because they know the American people won’t tolerate more expensive, lower quality healthcare -- and that’s what Trumpcare offers.”
“We owe it to the American people to demand transparency from Republican members of the U.S. Senate who are currently crafting their own version of health care reform without any public hearings or bipartisan participation,” said Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), Chair of the Senate Health Committee. “Any policy that threatens the health care coverage of over 20 million people deserves a public vetting and should never come from backroom deals. I join with my colleagues in calling on the U.S. Senate Republicans to stop their secretive negotiations on a weak and dangerous replacement for the Affordable Care Act, and instead focus on how we can make the current law work better.”
During negotiations on the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a combined 100 public hearings on health care reform, accepted 147 Republican amendments, and posted the draft legislation online 6 days before the final vote. The House of Representatives held at least 79 bipartisan hearings and markups; accepted at least 30 Republican amendments; and posted the final bill online 72 hours before voting on it.
This Congress has not held a single public hearing to analyze a measure that affects one-sixth of the national economy and could result in 23 million Americans losing healthcare over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). According to the CBO analysis, up to 14 million Americans could lose their healthcare by 2018 under the latest publicly-available bill language.