Talking Points: Mar. 12th

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Affordable Care Act

  1. Demand transparency for the new Trumpcare bill which was revealed only 40 hours before it was to be voted on in committee. Since people lives and health are at stake, we want the same deliberation and transparency for this bill or any others that propose to replace the ACA. Note: When the ACA was being drafted, it had a historic number of hours of debate and amendments during committee development of the legislation. Specifically, the House held 79 public hearings on the health reform bill over the period of an entire year. House members spent nearly 100 hours in hearings, heard from 181 witnesses from both sides of the aisle, and considered 239 amendments from both Democratic and Republican MoCs.
  2. Demand that no vote be taken, even in committees, before the report from the Congressional Budget office is out and has been thoroughly reviewed. It appears this bill will once again cut taxes on the wealthy and return millions of the poor and middle class to the rolls of the insured. How can America be strong, if its people are sick?

Note: The CBO is a non partisan agency that estimates how each bill will affect government spending and our citizens.

  1. We should use data, rather than anecdotes or the word of lobbyists, to look for innovative cost savings before we begin taking peoples’ health care away. For example, Hawaii currently allows doctors to “prescribe” housing for those on Medicare. The reason is that the homeless in Hawaii, making up only 3.4% of those on Medicaid, were using 62% of Medicaid funds. Providing housing turns out to be much more cost effective than providing medical care for the homeless in emergency rooms.

Deregulation

  1. Do you support significantly rolling back government regulation as proposed in the REINS bill, which essentially makes it nearly impossible for a federal agency to implement a regulation**? If such massive deregulation occurs, who will protect us from pollution, untested drugs, unsafe food additives, etc. Do you expect the states to fill in these gaps and public safety? If so, won’t they have to raise taxes to do so? (Note: Barr voted for the Reins bill, which passed the house) It has not yet been voted on by the Senate, but other deregulation bills (notably, the Portman bill) are making their way through the process.***

Recent examples of deregulation

  1. Why did you support legislation (HJ Res. 40) that would allow people who could not manage their social security accounts to purchase guns? If they are not able to manage their SS accounts, how can they manage a gun? If this is a personal liberties question, what about the rights of school children not to be shot by people with mental illness. (Note: Barr co-sponsored this bill.)
  2. Why did you support legislation (HJ Res. 38) to disapprove the Interior Department’s clean streams regulation, which required mining companies to clean up streams they pollute? If you believe there should be a balance between business and the environment, why do you always come down on the side of business and never seek a common ground? Where is the balance?

** the REINS bill would require that any future major regulation adopted by an Executive Agency — such as the Clean Air Act or Dodd Frank — must be approved by a specific resolution in each House of Congress within 70 days before it takes effect and then may not be implemented as long as there are any lawsuits filed against it.

*** See http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/03/the-coming-gop-assault-on-regulations-000351 for an in-depth description of how the Republicans are dismantling the regulatory system.

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