WASHINGTON, D.C. — At an event in view of the nation’s Capitol building, leaders of the conservative grassroots organization Americans for Prosperity (AFP) denounced the new Republican healthcare bill known as “Obamacare Lite” or “Trumpcare.”
“It breaks a number of promises — number one that they are going to repeal all of the mandates, all of the requirements, all of the broken regulations and taxes that are really driving up the cost of healthcare,” Luke Hilgemann, AFP’s chief executive officer, told reporters after a rally. “What we’ve seen from this proposal so far is that it doesn’t meet any of those objectives.” In particular, he attacked the idea of tax credits in healthcare as “a new entitlement” that “doesn’t really solve the problem.”
“Republicans in the House promised to fully repeal the law, all the mandates and all the taxes, everything. This proposal from last night simply does not do that. It does not do the job,” AFP President Tim Phillips declared.
Phillips told reporters that AFP has been fighting against Obamacare since the spring of 2009. “We’ve spent tens of millions of dollars on television ads, digital ads, radio, hundreds of rallies and events, millions of phone calls and door-to-door knocks,” he declared. “We’re in this for the long haul.”
The two leaders of AFP came out against the “Trumpcare” plan after a “You Promised” rally featuring many victims of Obamacare, who gave their remarks and called on Congress to keep their promises and repeal the entirety of Obama’s healthcare law.
After his remarks, Hilgemann spoke with PJ Media about what AFP would like to see in an Obamacare “repeal and replace” agenda. “Number one, I think it starts with a full repeal of every word of Obamacare,” the CEO said. “That’s what they’ve promised the American people, and anything short of that, in our opinion, is just a non-starter.”
Beyond repeal, the AFP CEO said there were many “good ideas” proposed by Republicans in Congress, and there should be a debate on which “replacement” to go with. “At the end of the day, if it doesn’t incorporate better access with lower cost and better quality of care, then at least for us it’s a non-starter.”
Indeed, Hilgemann agreed that the term “replacement” is a misnomer, since AFP would support a bill that turns health care over to the free market. “The government-based approach to healthcare isn’t working,” he declared. “It’s failing millions of Americans,” and they voted for a party which promised to “get government out of the way.” Whatever else healthcare legislation should do, “it should be based on market principles.”
AFP President Phillips dismissed the idea that President Trump’s declaration of future “phases” of the healthcare rollout could help reconcile his organization with the GOP plan, which falls short of full repeal. “All we can do is look at the language that’s been proposed so far, and it’s not full repeal of Obamacare,” Phillips told PJ Media.
“This falls short of the Republican promises they made in four consecutive elections to fully and unequivocally repeal Obamacare,” the AFP president added. “You can only really discuss the language that’s out there, and the language that’s out there fails to fully repeal this law.”
Phillips said “it’s like shadowboxing with a phantom to say ‘maybe it’ll get better.'” Ultimately, “you can only look at what you’ve actually got, and what’s there is not sufficient.”
The AFP leaders clearly advocated for the current GOP “replacement” bill to fail.
“What we are really looking for at this point is twenty courageous members of the House of Representatives to stand up and say they are not going to break their promise to the American people to fully repeal every word of this broken law,” Hilgemann declared.
He focused on the House of Representatives perhaps because three Republicans in the U.S. Senate (Texas’ Ted Cruz, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, and Utah’s Mike Lee) have already declared their opposition to this bill. Instead, these senators called for a “clean” repeal of Obamacare, to be followed by rigorous debate over any further healthcare legislation.
After the rally, activists with AFP boarded a bus headed straight to the U.S. capitol, to lobby their representatives against the bill and for a complete Obamacare repeal. The people will not be silent.
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) March 7, 2017