On the Five Year Anniversary of McCain's "Thumbs Down" Vote, Republican Attacks on Our Health Care Persist as Democrats are Poised to Pass Historic Legislation
Today marks the five-year anniversary of Senator John McCain giving the final “thumbs-down” vote to block President Trump and Republicans’ top legislative priority: repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Protect Our Care fought alongside advocates, activists, and health care champions in Congress to crush the GOP’s repeal effects, and continue to fight today to preserve the ACA.
Now after more than a decade of protecting our health care, President Biden and Congressional Democrats are poised to pass the most historic legislation since the Affordable Care Act. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will lower prescription drug costs by giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prices for millions of Americans, cap seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for drugs at $2000 per year, and stop Big Pharma’s egregious annual price hikes. The ACA’s financial assistance will also be extended for three years, lowering health care premium costs.
Meanwhile, Republicans have spent more than a decade trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act and its protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions – and they have not quit their crusade against the health care law. House and Senate Republicans not only oppose the historic Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, they voted against the American Rescue Plan, which included measures to expand coverage and dramatically lower health care costs for millions of families.
Even worse, Senate Republicans like Ron Johnson and Rick Scott have proposed plans to end the ACA altogether. Senator Johnson recently reignited the GOP fight to repeal the ACA, arguing that the GOP should develop an ACA replacement to “actually make good on what we established as our priorities.” As chair of the NRSC, Senator Scott proposed an 11 point Republican plan that would sunset all federal legislation in five years. Not only would the Rick Scott plan put the Affordable Care Act in grave danger, but it threatens every federal health program, including Medicare and Medicaid.
In addition to opposing the critical provisions to lower the costs of prescription drugs in the reconciliation bill, Republicans are also fighting against care for women, seniors, and people with disabilities. Republicans have attacked abortion rights and opposed legislation to help end the maternal mortality crisis. They voted against capping drug costs and extending hearing benefits for seniors. Republicans in Congress also continue to oppose closing the coverage gap in 12 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion, which has left more than two million vulnerable Americans uninsured. Failure to support these policies disproportionately harms people of color, who face increased barriers to accessing care and worse health outcomes.
As we think back to that historic vote, the contrast remains crystal clear: while Democrats are fighting to level the playing field for working families, Republicans are siding with the pharmaceutical industry and other special interests by sabotaging our care.