I am appalled that some members of Congress want to take away health care and nursing home care from 22 million people, including 270,000 Hoosiers. In Indiana, 4700 veterans would lose Medicaid coverage if the ACA is repealed. Repealing the ACA would drive up health care costs with higher premiums, deductibles, and a higher cost for prescription drugs. Not only that, it will increase the number of uninsured, and it will be a job-killer for those working in the health care industry. According to one analysis, more than 18,000 jobs in Indiana will be lost if the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act succeeds. Repeal would be especially devastating for rural hospitals in our district.

It’s no wonder that less than 20 percent of Americans approve of the repeal bill. Just look what will happen if it passes:

  • The cost of your prescription drugs and co-pays may increase.

  • If you have a preexisting condition like cancer you could lose coverage.

  • If you are a senior your coverage could become unaffordable.

  • If you are a woman, you could lose critical coverage, including prenatal and maternity care.

  • The Senate bill is estimated to lead to the loss of Medicaid coverage for 210,200 Hoosiers, and a loss of coverage in the individual marketplace for 60,500.

  • For the many Hoosiers with opioid addiction and mental health challenges who have gotten coverage through the Medicaid expansion or the individual marketplace, the Senate bill would put their coverage at serious risk.

  • School services for children with disabilities may be unavailable due to federal Medicaid cuts.

Republicans have been saying they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act for over seven years, but they still have no plan to replace it. They will make health insurance unaffordable just so the wealthiest Americans can get massive tax breaks they do not need. They want to take over $1 trillion over the next 10 years out of the health system and give it to the rich as tax cuts. If they do that, quality coverage will be unaffordable, and states and local governments will have to take on more of the cost of care, especially emergency care.

They also want to repeal the Medicaid expansion, even though it is the single most important source of funding we have to fight the opioid epidemic that is ravaging southern Indiana.

I don’t accept that, and you shouldn’t either.

We can work together to make sure Hoosiers have access to good, affordable health coverage without going bankrupt. Indiana opted to expand Medicaid under a Republican governor, and adopted the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP 2.0). Indiana’s plan is not perfect, but it has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers getting health care coverage who did not have it before. Because of HIP 2.0, people who have never had coverage can go to the doctor for the first time. People with chronic illnesses have finally gotten treatment. The repeal bill would take all of that away.

We need to protect and strengthen the health care system we have, not break it. As Senator Donnelly has said, “If your house needs repairs, you don’t set the house on fire. You work to fix the issues.”  That’s exactly what we need to do. I will join with everyone in Congress—Republican and Democrat alike—who wants to work together to make affordable health care available to all Americans. It’s time to stop playing games with people’s lives and get to work bringing down health care costs and finding ways to provide affordable coverage to more Americans.