The most recent count shows that there are currently more than a dozen Senate Republicans who have not said that they will vote in favor of the Better Care Reconciliation Act; some of those on the fence might end up voting against the bill after they read what the former vice president has to say about it.
On Monday, The Washington Post published an op-ed written by former Vice President Joe Biden. In his editorial, Biden made it clear that he does not approve of congressional Republicans’ approach to health care.
Biden first warned congressional Republicans that, if they take away the peace of mind that millions of people received when the ACA was passed, “they’ll have to look Americans in the eye and explain to them that they have to start worrying again.”
Biden acknowledged that the ACA is not perfect. However, he also argued that the Senate’s proposed replacement would make things much worse for millions of Americans.
‘The ACA isn’t perfect, but the choices we made when designing the law flowed from a commitment to provide the best possible care to the most people. Compare that to Republican proposals, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said will mean more than 20 million fewer people will have health coverage by 2026, and millions more will no longer have the same protections provided by the ACA.’
He then provided more detail about the numerous ways the Better Care Reconciliation Act would hurt the American people.
First, he pointed out the fact that the millions of Americans — including children, those with disabilities, and veterans — who rely on Medicaid would suffer as a result of the Senate’s plan to cut the program by “about three-quarters of a trillion dollars.”
He then addressed the lack of funds the bill dedicates to handling the opioid epidemic that is “ravaging communities and ripping the heart out of our country.” The bill originally allocated $2 billion to this cause; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then increased spending to $45 billion, which is still nowhere near the $183 billion needed over the next ten years to provide treatment for addiction and illnesses associated with it.
Biden also argued that the Senate health care bill would severely affect middle-class families while creating two individual insurance markets: “One in which insurers must cover people with preexisting conditions, and one in which they don’t.”
The former vice president then went on to say that the bill is “fundamentally flawed” and nothing but a “big step backward.”
He ended his op-ed by imploring Senate Republicans to take steps to provide health care for all rather than trying to press forward with the current bill.
‘In my 36 years as a senator, I saw my colleagues take plenty of hard votes. This just isn’t one of them. If Republican leadership wants to improve the ACA, let’s first come to an agreement that everyone should have health coverage. Then, based on that premise, let’s have a debate about how best to improve care and reduce costs. Let’s again make the commitment that in America, health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the wealthy.’
Featured image via Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.